Statute of Limitations
Statute of Limitations or sometimes referred to as Limitation of Action, or Limitation of Prosecution.
The Statute of Limitations is the time frame when the State can bring criminal charges and prosecute a defendant. There are various rules on this subject. The Statute of Limitations is not the same as the “Speedy Trial Rule”. It is best to contact Attorney Steven Logan for more details on the issue of Statute of Limitations as a defense. Surprisingly in this day and age I have still won cases on this issue alone.
The prosecution begins when the State Attorney’s Office files a formal charge against you. The charging document is called an “Information” or if through a Grand Jury an “indictment.
The prosecution can begin upon the filing of the charging document if the Defendant was previously been arrested on the charge or served with a summons or if the Defendant was not previously arrested or served with a summons upon the filing of a charging document and the capias, summons or other process was executed without unreasonably delay. The time period (Statute of Limitations) can be tolled or extended if the State searches diligently. If the Defendant purposefully and stealth fully avoids process or is out of State, the limitation can be extended. I had a case where the Sheriff’s Office could not find and serve my client with a summons/Information. I won that case on based on Statute of Limitations because the Defendant could have easily been served as he was in custody in the county jail of that very same Sheriff’s Office.
General Time Limitations for certain crimes:
- Capital felony, life felony, or a felony resulting in death there is NO limitation and can be commenced at any time.
- First (1st) degree Felony the prosecution must begin within 4 years.
- Any other Felony the prosecution must begin within 3 years.
- First (1st) degree Misdemeanor must begin within 2 years.
- Second (2nd) degree Misdemeanor must begin within 1 year.
- Theft Crimes all theft crimes whether a Felony (Grand Theft) or a Misdemeanor (Petty Theft) must begin within 5 years. F.S. 812.035 (10), State of Florida v. Telez, 873 So. 2d. 1236 (2DCA 2004)
There are various exceptions and nuances on the law of Statute of Limitations it is best to consult an attorney regarding F.S. 775.15 and the case law that interprets said limitations.