What Does Statute of Limitations Mean?

Posted By Carlson & Collier || 22-Dec-2015

Every state has laws on the statute of limitations for criminal cases. This is the time it takes for the prosecutor to press charges against a person suspected of committing a crime. Understandably, as criminal cases can be quite complex, it does take time to find someone culpable of a criminal offense and subsequently charge them with that crime. Prosecutors are held to these time limits to file formal criminal charges.

There are statute of limitations laws in both civil and the criminal areas of law. It is meant to ensure that the structure of the criminal justice system is kept intact and remains efficient and functioning at a fair, optimum level.

Time Limits for Various Crimes

In Virginia, misdemeanors typically only have a one-year limit. These might include crimes such as some types of theft charges and assault and battery. On the other hand, very serious cases that involve violence or considered against the moral standards as dictated by society, (also known as “crimes of moral turpitude”) do not have limitations:

These crimes include the following:

Because of the violent nature of these crimes and the amount it often takes to gather evidence and resolve it, many of these cases can continue for several years. Most prosecutors and law enforcement officials understand that families of the one who has been victimized will be dissatisfied with the system, knowing that someone has been let free without justice being served in court.

When Does the Statute of Limitations Begin?

The statute of limitations does not technically begin counting down once the crime has occurred or even the days, weeks, or months after. For example, if the suspect takes off and takes the police on a wild goose chase and manages to sneak away, they would still be considered a suspect. Therefore, the case is pending, and the statute of limitations will not run out unless the criminal process has begun against that person for the alleged crime.

If you have any questions about the statute of limitations, or you need defense for any criminal charge, do not hesitate to contact Carlson & Collier.

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