More often than we should, we hear the unfortunate news of someone being sexually harassed or taken advantage of on a daily bases. Many of these claims involve incidents that occurred decades prior, and some are no longer within the statute of limitations to investigate. In the state of Florida, if the crime of rape isn’t reported within 72 hours, a clock with an 8 year timer starts to tick on the ability for the case to be investigated.
What Are Statute of Limitations?
Statute of limitations are defined as the period of time allowed for the bringing of certain kinds of legal action. According to Florida law, the limitations are typically as follows: 4 years for first degree felonies, 3 years for other felonies, none for crimes resulting in death or that would warrant life in prison, 2 years for first degree misdemeanors, and 1 year for second degree misdemeanors.
Crimes involving rape used to fall under the 4 year / first degree felony bracket. In 2015, Danielle Sullivan, a victim herself, missed the four year window by 43 days and pushed for a bill called the “43 Days Initiative” to be passed extending the limitation to 8 years. It was passed and the law was changed.
How Will Florida Lawmakers Change the Statute of Limitations for Rape?
The change being proposed to the current law surrounding the investigations of rape crimes includes dropping the 72 hour window to report the crime, as well as dropping the limit to investigate the crime all together. This would make the statue of limitations completely obsolete, allowing rape crimes to be reported and investigated, no matter how much time has gone by. If passed, this bill would go into effect July 2020.
Florida isn’t the only state making these changes. New York and New Jersey have similar bills in the works, too. If you or someone you know, have been accused of a sexual assault, hiring the right attorney can make or break their future. An experienced criminal defense attorney like Russell Spatz has the experience and tools needed to handle such a case. Give him a call today at 305-442-0200.
Koh, Elizabeth. “Florida Lawmakers May Lift Statute of Limitations on Rape Cases.” Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay Times, 21 Oct. 2019, https://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2019/10/21/florida-lawmakers-may-lift-statute-of-limitations-on-rape-cases/.
“Home.” Legal Resources, https://resources.lawinfo.com/criminal-defense/criminal-statute-limitations-time-limits.html#florida.