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As frightening as being accused of a sexual offense can be, imagine being accused of one that happened years ago? Although it may seem unfair to accuse someone of a crime that happened so long ago you may not even remember details from that period of time, the reality is that under certain circumstances you can be prosecuted for a rape that occurred years ago in Florida.
Almost all criminal offenses in Florida are subject to a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the time frame within which the State of Florida has to bring charges against a defendant. If the State fails to bring charges within the time period specified in the statute of limitations, and no exception applies, the State is forever barred from prosecuting the suspect.
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CONTACT US FOR A RAPE OR SEX CRIME CASE EVALUATION
Can I Be Prosecuted For A Rape That Occurred Years Ago?
In Florida, what most people refer to as “rape” is technically known as “sexual battery” by statute. The statute of limitations for rape or sexual battery in Florida depends on what level of felony the offense is charged as. Rape or sexual battery can be charged as a second degree felony, a first degree felony, or a capital offense, depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations such as:
- The age of the victim and the defendant
- The use of any weapons
- The personal injury suffered by the victim.
The statute of limitations for rape or sexual battery is as follows:
- For a capital felony, life felony, or a felony that resulted in death, there is no time limitation;
- For a felony of the first degree, prosecution must commence within four years after commission of the offense;
- For any other felony, prosecution must commence within three years after commission of the offense;
- There is no limitations period for any sexual battery violation committed against a victim under 16.
- There is no limitations period for any first degree sexual battery offense committed against a victim under 18;
- There is no limitations period if the offense is a first or second degree felony committed against a victim 16 or older, and the offense is reported within 72 hours after its commission;
- If the victim was under 18 at the time the offense was committed, the time does not begin to run until the earlier of the victim reaching 18 or the offense being reported to law enforcement, however, there is no limitations period for a first or second degree sexual battery felony on a victim under 18 if the crime is reported within 72 hours after it was committed.
Rape or Sexual battery as a capital offense is defined as:
“A person 18 years of age or older who commits sexual battery upon, or in an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of, a person less than 12 years of age commits a capital felony.”
Rape or Sexual battery as a life felony is defined as follows:
“A person less than 18 years of age who commits sexual battery upon, or in an attempt to commit sexual battery injures the sexual organs of, a person less than 12 years of age commits a life felony.”
“A person who commits sexual battery upon a person 12 years of age or older, without that person’s consent, and in the process thereof uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon or uses actual physical force likely to cause serious personal injury commits a life felony.”
If you have been charged with a sexual battery that allegedly occurred years ago it is imperative that you contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to begin working on your defense. Don’t get railroaded by someone else, call us today and protect your rights.
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