Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Statute of Limitations: What it is and when it applies

Happy Writer Wednesday!



This week, I have another little Criminal Justice tidbit for you.

The statute of limitations is a law that sets the time limit for how long after a crime is committed that it can be prosecuted. The limitations vary from state to state and can also vary by the type and severity of the crime.

The statute of limitations can be tolled (paused) in certain instances (while another case is being worked out, for instance).

There is no statute of limitations for federal crimes punishable by death, for certain federal sex crimes, and for federal terrorism crimes. This isn't an exhaustive list. There are other instances in which the statute of limitations doesn't apply.

In many instances, the date the crime was committed isn't necessarily the start date on the clock. Often, the clock starts when the act is discovered. So, for instance, if I work in a plant that's knowingly breaking the law by using a banned substance, and I am diagnosed with some disease as a result of their action, the clock starts when the injury is discovered, not necessarily when it occurred.

If you're writing about a crime that occurred at some time in the past, make sure you take the statute of limitations in that specific locale into consideration!

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