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Statutes of limitations for sex crimes in New York

When it comes to being charged with and prosecuted for a sex crime, the statute of limitations is very important. In some cases, it can mean the difference between a conviction and very long sentence and being set free to go home.

Below are some statutes of limitations for sex crimes alleged to have been committed in the state of New York:

-- 3rd Degree Rape, a Class E felony. The statute of limitations is five years from the alleged occurrence. However, if the reported victim was a minor, the clock doesn't begin ticking until the victim's 18th birthday or the alleged crime is reported to police or a state agency that investigates child abuse. This timeframe and restrictions also apply to 2nd Degree Rape, which is considered to be a Class D felony.

-- 1st Degree Rape. There are no time limits for charges to be brought against a defendant accused of this Class B felony.

Under certain circumstances, the statute of limitations can be halted, or "tolled." Below are two examples.

-- If the whereabouts of the accused are unknown and unable to be ascertained through reasonable diligence, the clock stops for up to five additional years. This also applies if the accused continuously remained out of state.

-- If prosecution is pursued during the prescribed timeframe and one of the prosecution's accusatory instruments is dismissed while the circumstances allow another charge to be pursued. The charge must be for the same offense or based on the same behavior from the beginning of the ceased prosecution to the instrument's dismissal.

A skilled defense attorney can offer advice and counsel regarding statutes of limitations for sex crimes and other charges.

Source: rainn.org, "New York," accessed June 11, 2015

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Robert D. DiDio
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