What is the Statute of Limitations on Sexual Assault Charges in Florida?
If you are accused of rape or any other sexual crime, it can be a difficult thing to live with, especially if you know the accusations are baseless and without merit. How long, though, do you have to live in fear of prosecution? Here is what you need to know about the statute of limitations for sexual assault charges in the State of Florida.
Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in Florida
Generally speaking, under Florida law, the statute of limitations on sexual assault charges is four years. Like most states, in Florida, the statute of limitations on sexual assault varies depending on the classification of the crime, or the discovery of DNA evidence. When the authorities discover DNA evidence, the law allows for an extra one year for prosecution from the date of the evidence’s discovery.
Felony Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations
When a felony classification is given, there are various limitations to filing charges. For capital felonies – which is when a person over the age of 18 assaults a victim under the age of 12 – there is no limitation to when prosecutors may press charges. First degree felonies, which includes most attacks that use physical violence and cause injury, have a four-year window for charges to be filed. All other offenses have a statute of limitation of three years.
Just because the statute of limitations has expired, this does not mean that those who face accusations of sexual misconduct such as assault are free from legal trouble. The State of Florida allows for the prosecution for aggravated rape at any time, with no statute of limitations, meaning that if the charges include violence or penetration, you may still be tried after the legal boundaries of your crime expire.
When the opportunity for criminal charges expires, Florida allows for the filing of civil charges for sexual assault. The statute of limitations for the filing of a civil claim for attacks of a sexual nature is four years after the discovery of the injury, meaning even if you don’t face charges with a crime, you may be held liable for financial damages.
What to Do If You Face Sexual Assault Charges
Facing assault charges is scary enough, but when the accusations include sexual violence, rape, or other sex crimes, it is even more intimidating. Should you face charges of sexual assault, the first thing you should do is contact a criminal defense attorney who is willing to fight for your rights.
Chad Piotrowski has a long and distinguished record of defending his clients from charges ranging from drug possession and theft to sexual assault and murder. Chad is a former prosecuting attorney in Miami-Dade, meaning he understands how the prosecution thinks. This unique insight helps him anticipate every move and craft an expert defense to best suit his client’s individual needs.