Understanding the Statutes of Limitations for Sex Crimes

The statute of limitations, or the amount of time between when a crime is committed and when a case can be opened, is often a murky area to understand. From state to state, the statute of limitations on sex crimes can vary, and if you’ve been involved in a possible sex crime you’re likely wondering how long you have until you can no longer be accused or charged. 

In this brief article, a Tampa lewd or lascivious attorney with The Rickman Law Firm shares a few important facts about statutes of limitations for sex crimes in Florida.

Statute of Limitations for Sex Crimes

As a refresher, the statute of limitations, or SOL, is “a statute prescribing a period of limitation for the bringing of certain kinds of legal action.” In layman’s terms, the SOL is the maximum amount of time between when a crime occurred and when someone can formally come forward to file charges against another person. Some crimes, like murder, have no SOL and can be pursued decades later. 

The statute of limitations varies depending on the crime. These are not the same time limits as in civil cases, and even if the SOL for the crime has passed the victim may still have time to sue the perpetrator for damages. The following list includes statutes of limitations in Florida for sex crimes, as of March 2020: 

  • Statutory Rape: 3 years
  • Serious felony sex offense: 10 years or less (depending on the crime) 
  • Sexual assault: 4 years (on average)

It’s important to note that if the sexual abuse resulted in the someone’s death, or if it occurred in such a circumstance that the abuser could face life imprisonment, the statute of limitation does not apply.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?

There are instances when the statute of limitations does not apply. These include: 

  • Any sex crime involving a minor aged 12 years or under; or if the victim was under age 12 and has familial or custodial ties to the perpetrator
  • A crime involving the use of force or a deadly weapon, or a credible threat of a use of force
  • Cases when the victim is under 18 and suffered a first-degree felony sexual molestation
  • A first or second-degree felony sexual battery reported to law enforcement within 72 hours of its commission
  • A first or second-degree felony sexual battery suffered by a victim below 18 years and reported to law enforcement within 72 hours after its commission
  • A life felony lewd or lascivious molestation of a child under 12 years by an abuser who is 18 years or older
  • Sexual battery or an attempt to commit sexual battery that injures the victim, and the offense was committed when the victim was 16 years or younger

If you’ve been accused of a sex crime, whether within or outside of the SOL, you’ll need a lewd and lascivious lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm to help defend you as soon as possible. Public defenders simply don’t have the time or resources needed to fight for your rights. 

For a free consultation with a lewd and lascivious lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.


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