Understanding Criminal Statutes of Limitations

Am I In the Clear? Statute of Limitations on Criminal Offenses

We’ve all seen scenes out of Hollywood of actors running from police in fear of being arrested for bad behavior — and they are willing to risk it all for freedom. Putting aside the exaggerated plots you see in theaters, many people find themselves looking over their shoulders, metaphorically, in fear that criminal charges may be coming their way. That person may even be you. Be it for something you were arrested for, released, and were told that charges were coming; or, for actions that you think you got away with, but now fear eventually may be discovered by investigators — either way, it’s a real anxiety that many people live with.
Without question, how often you look over your shoulder (so to speak) depends on the activity you were involved in, right? If you had committed a murder, you would be literally checking your rear view mirror every time you entered your car or passed a police car. If it were a petty employee theft, maybe you are less worried about it, but curious all the same. Hopefully this blog will answer some of those questions for you one way or the other. The Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower stand ready to assist, read more and then contact us to help.
Thankfully, the Indiana legislature created a few statute of limitations for how long prosecutors can investigate crimes and wait to file charges against you. Obviously, the periods by which charges can be brought vary by the severity of the crime.
Below is a list of crimes and how long the prosecutor has to bring charges.
MISDEMEANORS – the State has two (2) years to bring charges after the commission of the crime.
LEVEL 6 FELONIES – the State has five (5) years to bring charges after the commission of the crime.
LEVEL 3, 4, and 5 FELONIES (other than those sex crimes listed below) – the State has five (5) years to bring charges after the commission of the crime,

HOWEVER:

Charges can be brought within one (1) year of when the State

(1) First discovers evidence sufficient to charge an offender an offense through DNA analysis; or

(2) Could have discovered evidence sufficient to charge an offender with an offense through DNA through the exercise of due diligence.

LEVEL 1 and 2 FELONIES – the State can bring charges at any time.
MURDER – the State can bring charges of Murder:

(1) Anytime; and

(2) regardless of how much time has passed between

(A) the date a person allegedly committed the elements of murder;

(B) the date the alleged victim of murder dies

SEX RELATED CRIMES: the following crimes must be charged prior to an alleged victim turning thirty-one (31) years old

(1) CHILD MOLEST (IC 35-42-4-3(A))

(2) VICARIOUS SEXUAL GRATIFICATION (IC 35-42-4-5)

(3) CHILD SOLICITATION (IC 35-42-4-6)

(4) CHILD SEDUCTION (IC 35-42-4-7)

(5) INCEST (IC 35-46-1-3)

FORGERY – the State must bring charges within five (5) years
There are a few exceptions (as usual) to these timelines. For instance, here are three prime examples:

(1)    STATE ERROR: “If a complaint, indictment, or information is dismissed because of an error, defect, insufficiency, or irregularity,” the State must bring charges within ninety (90) days of the dismissal.

(2)    NON-RESIDENT: the statute of limitations can be extended if an accused is not a resident of Indiana and cannot be properly served

(3)    ACCUSED CONCEALS EVIDENCE: if an accused conceals evidence and that evidence couldn’t have been found through due diligence by investigators, the statute of limitation is extended.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors in determining if you are in the clear in terms of having criminal charges brought against you. Because of that, it’s important to have an attorney who understands the law when it comes to statute of limitations and the remedies for if they aren’t followed. The Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower have the experience to successful litigate your criminal case. Hire Banks & Brower, LLC, and rest assured you have a team of Criminal Defense Attorneys on your side that will unabashedly defend your constitutionally protected rights.