The Statute of Limitations for criminal charges prohibits prosecutors from bringing charges for a crime after a specified number of years has passed. If the state fails to bring a case within the specified time period, it loses its right to prosecute that crime forever. The reasoning behind the Statute of Limitations is that the more time that passes, the more difficult it would be to locate witnesses, gather evidence, or remember events. Civil lawsuits filed in Florida have their own Statute of Limitations for when a suit must be filed. For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the Statutes of Limitation pertaining to criminal cases.
In general, the Statutes of Limitation for violent crimes tend to be longer, and with certain crimes, there is no Statute of Limitation. Florida, like other states, has special provisions for cases where DNA evidence is used. Additionally, in certain instances, the Statute of Limitations may be suspended granting the state additional time to commence a legal action.
Statute of Limitations for Misdemeanors
- 1st Degree Misdemeanor: 2 years
- 2nd Degree Misdemeanor: 1 year
Statute of Limitations for Felonies
- Capital Felony, Life Felony, or Felony that results in a death: No Statute of Limitations
- 1st Degree Felony: 4 years
- 2nd and 3rd Degree Felony: 3 years
Offense Specific Statutes of Limitations
- Any offense involving fraud or a breach of fiduciary obligation: within 1 year after discovery of the offense, up to a maximum additional 3 years.
- Certain sexual crimes where the victim is under 18: Statute of Limitations begins when the victim turns 18 or the violation is reported, whichever occurs earlier.
- 1st or 2nd Degree Sexual Battery Felony reported within 72 hours: no Statute of Limitations.
- First Degree Sexual Battery Felony where the victim is under 18, and any Sexual Battery where the victim is under 16: no Statute of Limitations.
- Sexual Battery and Lewd or Lascivious Offenses: within 1 year after identity of the accused is established through DNA evidence.
- Aggravated Battery or any Felony Battery; Kidnapping or False Imprisonment; Sexual Battery; Lewd or Lascivious Offense; Burglary Offense; Robbery Offense; Carjacking; Aggravated Child Abuse: no Statute of Limitations if identity of the accused is established through DNA evidence.
- Perjury related to a Capital Felony: no Statute of Limitations.
- Felony that results in injury from a weapon or firearm: 10 years.
- Any offense based on misconduct in office by a public officer or employee: any time while the person is still in public office or employment, or within 2 years from the time the person leaves public office or employment, whichever is longer.
- Felony violations related to Medicaid provider fraud; exploitation, abuse, or neglect of an elderly or disabled adult; insurance fraud; environmental control violations; securities violations: 5 years.
Hold on Statute of Limitation
The Statute of Limitations does not run during the time a defendant is continually absent from the state or has no identifiable place of work or home in the state. This exception cannot extend the Statute of Limitations period for more than three years.
For more information on how the Statute of Limitations might be applicable in your criminal case, contact the most experienced criminal defense lawyers in Central Florida, the D’Lugo and DeFlora Law Firm.
We represent individuals charged with Misdemeanor and Felony offenses throughout the Central Florida area including Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Lake Nona, Poinciana, Osceola County and throughout Central Florida.
Call us for a consultation today at 407.870.5551 or online at www.KissimmeFamilyLaw.com.