Statute of limitations laws seek to avoid prosecution, or claims, that may arise after evidence is lost, or after the facts have become blurred by the passage of time, faulty memory, and death or when witnesses have died or are no longer available. These set of laws apply both civil and criminal cases.
Most states have laws that regulate the statutes of limitations, for most crimes and these statutes are tailored to their specific jurisdiction. The crime of murder does not have statute of limitation in any state. Statute of limitations for criminal conduct are applied differently depending on the crime and whether the crime is a felony or misdemeanor. Once the time allowed for prosecution has expired, the prosecution lacks jurisdiction to try or punish a defendant. The following rules are citation from the Louisiana Court of Criminal Procedure.
La. CCRP Article 578
A trial will not commence and a bail obligation will not be enforceable:
(1) In capital cases after 3 years from the date the prosecutor instituted charges;
(2) In other felony cases after 2 years from the date the prosecution instituted charges; and
(3) In misdemeanor cases after 1 year from the date the prosecution instituted charges.
CRIMES FOR WHICH THERE IS NO TIME LIMITATION
La. CCRP Article 571
There is no time limitation upon the institution of prosecution for any crime for which the punishment may be death or life imprisonment or for the crime of forcible rape.
TIME LIMITATION FOR CERTAIN SEX OFFENSES
La. CCRP Article 571.1
Sexual battery, Second degree sexual battery, Oral sexual battery, Felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, Indecent behavior with juveniles, Molestation of a juvenile, Crime against nature, Aggravated crime against nature, Incest, or Aggravated incest which involves a victim under seventeen years of age, regardless of whether the crime involves force, serious physical injury, death, or is punishable by imprisonment at hard labor shall be thirty years. This 30 year period begins to run when the victim attains the age of 18.
LIMITATION OF PROSECUTION OF NONCAPITAL OFFENSES
La. CCRP Article 572
Except as provided above, no person shall be prosecuted for an offense unless the prosecution is instituted within the following periods of time after the offense has been committed:
(1) 6 years, for a felony necessarily punishable by imprisonment at hard labor.
(2) 4 years, for a felony not necessarily punishable by imprisonment at hard labor.
(3) 2 years, for a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, or imprisonment, or both.
(4) 6 months, for a misdemeanor punishable only by a fine or forfeiture.
INTERRUPTION OF STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
La CCRP Article 575
The statutes of limitation shall be interrupted (paused) when the defendant:
(1) Avoids detection, apprehension or prosecution, flees from the state, is outside the state, or is absent from his usual place of living within the state; or
(2) Lacks mental capacity to proceed at trial and is committed to a psychiatric hospital.
FILING OF NEW CHARGES UPON DISMISSAL OF PROSECUTION
La CCRP Article 579
When a criminal prosecution is timely instituted and the prosecution is dismissed by the district attorney with the defendant’s consent, or before the first witness is sworn at the trial, or the indictment is dismissed by a court for any defect, a new prosecution for the same offense or for a lesser offense based on the same facts may be instituted within the time established by statute or within 6 months from the date of dismissal, whichever is longer.
A new prosecution shall not be instituted following a dismissal of the prosecution by the district attorney unless the state shows that the dismissal was not for the purpose of avoiding the time limitation for commencement of trial established.
Remember, this is not legal advice; we merely seek to give the reader information. If you were involved in criminal activity in the past, remember, statutes of limitations might be to your advantage and a knowledgeable and experienced attorney might be able to successfully have a case dismissed.
If you or a loved one have been arrested, or have been contacted by a law enforcement agency, contact an attorney immediately before you speak with anyone. Contact an attorney as soon as possible, if you can, do it before charges are filled. The best time to speak with an attorney concerning a legal issue that you have, or may have is right now; cases have deadlines, court appearances and other sensitive deadlines that must be met in a timely fashion in order to avoid further entanglements. Many cases have time sensitive deadlines that must be met. Attorney Martin E. Regan Jr., has, over the years, gained a solid reputation as a tough and diligent negotiator on behalf of his clients.
About Martin E. Regan, Jr.
Year after year, Martin E. Regan Jr., the firm’s senior partner, has dedicated tireless efforts on behalf of the accused and produce wins for clients that a less determined advocate would have thought hopeless. Martin E. Regan Jr.’s ability to tackle and win tough criminal cases has resulted in verdicts of acquittal in many highly publicized trials.