One of the factors that often impacts the prosecution of sex assault crimes (like rape or child molestation) is the statute of limitations. For those of you who might not be sure what that is, the statute of limitations is a law that forbids prosecutors from charging someone with a crime after a specified number of years has passed. The primary reason behind statutes of limitation, is to make sure that convictions only happen based on evidence (circumstantial, physical or eyewitness) that hasn’t deteriorated with time. There is also a public policy favoring closure when it comes to legal issues. After the period of the statute has ended, the person who committed the crime is essentially free.
Do all sex crimes have the same statute of limitations in Michigan?
No they don’t. There’s actually a really wide range of time periods for the different statutes of limitations on sex crimes in Michigan. For example, First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct has no statute of limitations, which means it can be prosecuted at any time after the crime, as long as the accused is still alive. CSC 1st degree can mean up to life in prison. However, with Second Degree CSC, the charges must be filed within 10 years after the offense was committed or by the alleged victims twenty-first birthday, whichever is later.
What about civil lawsuits for sexual abuse?
Civil lawsuits are different from criminal trials, in that if someone is convicted they aren’t sent to jail or prison. Instead they’re made to pay compensation and damages, most often in the form of money. Unlike many other states, Michigan doesn’t have a special statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse cases. So in these cases, the standard personal injury SOL is applied. These are also called tort claims. In Michigan, sexual abuse claims must be filed:
- Within two years of the act, if it involved assault or battery,
- Within five years of the act, if the perpetrator lived with the victim, or
- By the victim’s 19th birthday (if the victim was under 18 at the time of the abuse).
What happens if the crime is only reported after the statute of limitations is over?
In truth, if someone reports a sexual assault in Michigan that isn’t a First Degree CSC, and it has been more than 10 years since it happened, then nothing can be done. (That changes if the sex crime victimized a child.) The prosecutor’s office can’t file charges, and the alleged victim’s only recourse would be a civil suit. In some cases, the law determining the statute of limitations on certain sex crimes charges. However, even in those cases, the statute of limitations that applies is the one that was in place at the time of the assault. Even though the SOL may have been lengthened since the incident, it won’t have any effect on ‘time barred’ cases.
Are you being accused of a sex crime, CSC or rape charge from years ago?
Whether you’re accused of a sex crime that the victim claims happened last night, or two decades ago, there can be a lot at stake! So don’t just hope it will go away on it’s own! Call The Kronzek Firm 24/7 at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail). Our experienced sex crime defense attorneys have spent decades helping wrongfully accused people in Michigan to protect their futures and fight sex crime allegations. We’re here to help you too!