In most states, prosecutors have a time limit for filing criminal charges against a citizen. This time limit is called a statute of limitations. After the statute of limitation has passed, prosecutor can no longer bring charges against you. They can also vary depending on the crime. Keep in mind that the statute doesn’t count if you are out of state or otherwise evading law enforcement.
According to Florida Statutes § 775.15, the statute of limitations can range from one year to a lifetime, depending on the crime. Any felony crimes that result in death, death penalty felonies, felonies that are punishable by life in prison, and perjury in an official proceeding associated with the prosecution of a capital felony have no statute of limitations at all.
First-degree felonies and second-degree felonies can range from four to five years depending on the circumstances of the crime. For example, a first- and second-degree felony for abuse or neglect of an aged or disabled adult will have a longer statute of limitations (five years). Other felonies have a statute of limitations of three years.
Misdemeanors have even smaller windows for prosecution. A first-degree misdemeanor has a two-year statute of limitations, while the prosecutor only has one year to pursue cases involving second-degree misdemeanors and noncriminal violations.
Other specific offenses will also have their own statutes of limitations. For example, violation of a securities transaction and violation of environmental control are both have a five-year window. An offense involving a material element of fraud or breach of fiduciary obligation will have a three-year statute of limitations. Misconduct in a public office can only be prosecuted within two years of leaving office or any above limit, whichever is greater. In addition, if a sexual offense is committed by a minor under the age of eighteen, the statute begins to run after the defendant becomes a legal adult.
If you’re concerned about the statute of limitations for your crime, or you’re facing criminal charges, don’t hesitate to call us. Our skilled Clearwater criminal defense attorneys have the experienced and compassion necessary to help you defend your rights and freedom. Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. can offer you premier legal representation and more than thirty-five years of legal experience. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (727) 245-9009 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.