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Statute of Limitations for Federal Crimes

When it comes to criminal cases, there is a specific legal timeline that prosecutors must be aware of when pursuing charges against an individual. The time limits that are placed on criminal cases are often referred to as the “statute of limitations,” which requires that cases be pursued within a certain period of time following the criminal act. Failure to charge the individual within that time limit may result in the dismissal of the case.

Individuals who have been charged with a federal crime have the right to defend themselves in a court of law and can reasonably expect that the case will be resolved in a reasonable amount of time. If they are innocent of the charges, the individual should be able to move on with his or her life and not live in fear of prosecution for a lengthy period of time. If you or someone you love stands accused of a federal crime, contact the Appleton criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. at 414-271-9595.

Time Limits for Federal Cases

Although the statute of limitations may be altered depending on the circumstances of the case, common time limits include:

  • Five years for most federal crimes
  • Crimes against financial institutions typically allow for longer than five years
  • Crimes punishable by death, terrorism, or federal sex offenses typically have no statute of limitations

Typically, the statute of limitations begins when the crime is committed, but it may be suspended or lengthened by the court for specific reasons. If the person who committed the crime is a fugitive or if the case involves child abuse or fraud against the government, the time limit may be suspended or extended by the court.

Contact Us

If you have been wrongly accused of committing a federal crime, contact the Appleton criminal lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. at 414-271-9595 to discuss your legal options.