Criminal Statutes of Limitations Lawyers
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I Committed a Crime a Long Time Ago, Can I Still be Convicted?
The answer to this question depends on what crime you committed, how long ago, and where you committed it. Most states place limits on when a criminal prosecution must begin. This is accomplished through what are called statutes of limitations. A statute of limitation is a time period in which a case must be brought. If the statute of limitations for a crime is 10 years, then if the crime is committed and 10 years go by, you cannot be convicted for that crime, even if your are guilty.
I Committed a Crime, How Long is the Statute of Limitations?
Statues of limitations vary from state to state. Different offenses have different limitation periods. The general rule is that the more serious the offense, the longer the limitation period. Murder usually does not have a limitation period, meaning charges can be brought at any time. In addition, there may be different limitation periods between state and federal systems. A criminal defense attorney in your area is likely to be familiar with the local laws.
What Does Tolling the Statute of Limitations Mean?
If a statute of limitations is tolled, that means that it has been suspended. In other words, it stops running. You can think of the statute of limitations as a clock. If the statue calls for an 8 year limitation period, then the clock runs for 8 years. Once the clock runs out, you cannot be convicted. But, if the statute of limitations is tolled, the clock stops running, thus extending the 8 years.
When Would a Statute of Limitations Be Tolled?
Tolling usually occurs when the person who committed a crime leaves the jurisdiction (or state) of where the crimes was committed. Recently, states have amended their laws to also include tolling for when physical evidence undergoing DNA analysis.
I am Being Prosecuted for a Crime, but the Statute of Limitations Has Run, what Do I Do?
A statute of limitations is a defense to a crime. That is, charges can be brought even if the time period has run. You must raise the issue and argue that the statute of limitations bars the case.
I Committed a Crime but I Believe the Statute of Limitations Has Run, Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you ever commit a crime or are accused of committing a crime you should consult an attorney immediately. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise you of your rights and defenses and inform you about the complicated criminal legal system.
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Last Modified: 10-18-2012 02:59 PM PDT
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