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Archive for the ‘statute of limitations’ tag

Statute of Limitations for Criminal Charges

December 15th, 2015 at 9:49 am

Illinois criminal statutes, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, Criminal charges need to be brought as soon as possible in order to expedite justice and to ensure that critical components of the crime, such as evidence and witnesses’ recollections of the events that took place, are fresh and viable. But that is not to say that some charges cannot be brought against an accused many months or years after the actual crime took place. As such, one question remains: is there any limit on how long after a crime that charges can be brought?

Most criminal charges are subject to a statute of limitations, which is a window of opportunity in which charges for a crime must be brought against the accused or else they will be time barred, at which point a court will no longer hear the case against the accused. A statute of limitations begins either after the crime is committed or a victim learns that a crime has been committed against him or her. The statute of limitations forces the state’s prosecutors to move forward on a criminal case in a timely manner.

Statute of Limitations for Common Crimes in Illinois

A number of crimes in Illinois carry a statute of limitations, but not all do. The length or duration of a statute of limitations for a particular crime generally correspond to how serious the crime is, with less serious offenses having short statutes of limitations, while serious crimes may carry no statute of limitations at all. Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/3-5 lays out the statute of limitations for criminal offenses.

  • Depending on whether the facts of the case warrant a misdemeanor charge, charges for the crimes of assault, disorderly conduct, receiving stolen property, and theft can all carry an 18-month statute of limitations;
  • Depending on whether the facts of the case warrant a felony charge, charges for the crimes of assault, burglary, disorderly conduct, kidnapping, rape (depending on the facts of the case), receiving stolen property, robbery, and theft all carry a three-year statute of limitations; and
  • Arson, rape (depending on the facts of the case), involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, forgery and  and murder and attempted murder carry no statute of limitations, and charges for these crimes can be brought at any time after the crime occurred.

What Happens If the Statute of Limitations for a Crime Has Expired?

When a statute of limitations for a criminal charge has expired, the criminal action is time-barred and if charges for the crime are brought against the defendant, the charges will be dismissed. Defendants must raise this defense under 735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(5) by filing a motion for dismissal of the action with the court so that the court is aware that the case is defective and has gone stale.

Let Us Help You Today

Accusations that you committed a crime a long time ago can be troubling, but criminal charges that are too old and are beyond the statute of limitations cannot be tolerated or allowed to move forward. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at once for assistance with your case. Our law firm is prepared to help you throughout each step of the legal process.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K3-5

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073500050K2-619.htm

Illinois Criminal Statutes of Limitations: When Is a Case Too Old to Prosecute?

November 24th, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal justice system,Under the criminal justice system there is a limit  to when prosecutors can bring criminal charges. The time limit is called the statute of limitations. After a statute of limitations has passed a prosecutor cannot bring criminal charges. However, there have been more than a few cases where someone confessed to a crime, thinking the statute of limitations had expired, but were wrong and ended up getting convicted.

Misdemeanors

Under Illinois law the statute of limitations for misdemeanors is 18 months. Even if new evidence surfaces after 18 months, a prosecution cannot be brought. There are certain factors that can stop the statute from running. If you have been legally charged, but fail to show up for court, the statute of limitations is tolled, or put on pause. When you are eventually found, even if it is years later, the case will continue.

Felonies

The statute of limitations for most felonies in Illinois is three years after the commission of the crime. There are several important exceptions to this rule, however, for most felonies, after three years –  if charges have been filed or you have not been indicted – the prosecution cannot start the process.

Murder

Cases involving murder have no statute of limitations in Illinois. The list of crimes related to murder for which there is no statute of limitations include:

  • First degree murder;
  • Attempt to commit first degree murder;
  • Second degree murder;
  • Involuntary manslaughter;
  • Reckless homicide;
  • Leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving death or personal injuries; and
  • Concealment of a homicide.

It does not matter when any of these crimes were committed, you can always be prosecuted for them.

Special Circumstances

There are many other cases besides one that deal with murder that either have no statute of limitations or have an extended statute of limitations.

Other crimes that have no statute of limitations are:

  • Arson;
  • Aggravated arson;
  • Child pornography; and
  • Aggravated child pornography.

Crimes that deal with the abuse or sexual exploitation of a minor in some way have extended statutes of limitations. The statute is extended for one year after the minor victim turns 18, but the statute will always be at least three years.

For example, if someone commits the crime of exploitation of a minor and the victim is 13 at the time of the crime, the statute of limitation will not expire until the victim turns 19, making the statute in this case approximately six years. If the victim were 17 at the time of the crime, the statute would not expire when the victim turned 18 or 19. The statute would expire three years after the commission of the crime.

Criminal statutes of limitations can be complex. If you have been charged or accused of a crime, you need to get help fast. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer before you talk to anyone else about your case. Call today to schedule a consultation. Your freedom could be at risk.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K3-6

What is a Statute of Limitations?

April 7th, 2015 at 6:03 pm

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal law,When the news reports on crimes that happened a long time ago, they often say that a person cannot be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations. However most people do not not actually know what a statute of limitations is, why it exists, or when it applies. They can actually be quite complicated so if you find yourself charged with a crime that is alleged to have happened years ago, you will need the specific advice of a criminal defense attorney.

What is a Statute of Limitations and Why Does it Exist?

A statute of limitations is a statute that limits the time frame in which a certain cause of action can be brought. A cause of action could be something like a slip and fall lawsuit or a sexual harassment complaint, or it could be a criminal charge. Every state has different statutes of limitations and most states, including Illinois, have different statutes of limitations for different crimes. The purpose of these laws is two-fold. First of all, a statute of limitations prevents people from having to live in fear their entire lives of being sued or criminally charged for something that happened years or even decades earlier. Second, and most importantly, it protects everyone’s right to have a fair trial on the matter. Having a trial soon after an alleged wrong, when witnesses are still alive, available, and have clear memories, is vastly preferable when compared to the alternative. Charging a person with a crime decades after it was committed nearly guarantees that he or she will not be able to establish an alibi or find other witnesses even if he or she is absolutely innocent.

What is Illinois’ Criminal Statute of Limitations?

The criminal statute of limitations in Illinois depends upon the crime to be charged. If a person is charged with certain crimes that result in the death of another, concealment of homicidal death, treason, various types of arson, forgery, certain child pornography charges or certain sexual offenses, there is no statute of limitations. There are prolonged and complicated statutes of limitations that apply to many offenses that involve child victims, particularly offenses that are sexual in nature. Some crimes have their own specific statute of limitations. As a general rule though, if none of these circumstances apply, the statute of limitations usually mandates that felony prosecutions must be commenced within three years of the date the crime was committed, and misdemeanor prosecutions must be commenced within one year and six months.

One thing that is important to note is that while these are the current statutes of limitations, the laws on this matter change. In particular the laws have changed regarding the statute of limitation for certain sex offenses. So if a crime occurred decades ago and the statutory time limit ran out before the statute of limitations was changed to make it longer or non-existent, then a person may have a statute of limitations defense if a prosecutor were to try to charge the person for that crime now.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are being investigated for a crime or have been arrested, you need help. You need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200. We will fight for the best possible result in your situation.

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