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Does the statute of limitations apply to felonies?

Under Floridian law, prosecutors have time limits in almost all types of cases. The exceptions to that rule are for violent cases in which someone was killed and the accused could face charges that result in a death penalty felony, felony punishable by life in prison or perjury in an official proceeding that is tied to a death penalty case.

In all other felony cases, there are statutes of limitations requirements. For example, the prosecution has four years to bring a case against someone facing a first-degree felony charge. Other felonies have statutes of limitations deadlines of three years. First-degree misdemeanors and second-degree misdemeanors have two-year and one-year statutes of limitations deadlines respectively.

In some cases, the statute of limitations is longer. For instance, the first-degree felony and second-degree felony for the neglect or abuse of disabled or aged adults is five years. Sexual offenses also have extended statutes of limitations deadlines, because the person must be at least 16 before the statute of limitations begins unless he or she reported the violation sooner.

It's important to know that the statute of limitations doesn't run if you are not in the state or have no home or workplace. The statute of limitations can be extended no more than three years longer using this rule.

If you're accused of a felony, knowing the statute of limitations is one key component of your case. If the other party chooses not to pursue a claim or waits too long, you may be able to walk away from the situation without facing any penalties.

Source: FindLaw, "Florida Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws," accessed Oct. 16, 2017

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