If you've ever heard the term "statute of limitations," it can initially sound like a mouthful. However, it's just a term that describes the time limits in which a person can bring a felony or misdemeanor legal action. These limitations are often determined by state law and dictate how much time can pass before a person can file criminal charges against someone else for felony and misdemeanor crimes. Since these time limits vary in different states, if one is accused of felony charges such as rape, it's good for people in Kansas to know what those time limits are.
Rape and other sexual misconduct crimes have been in the news a lot lately. It seems like celebrities and other important people in business and in the public eye have been accused of rape and other sexual misconduct crimes more and more. The accusations brought against these accused people are sometimes for alleged crimes that reportedly occurred years ago. The question is, has too much time passed that the accused cannot bring their allegation in court because the statute of limitations time window has passed?
In Kansas, if one is facing misdemeanor charges related to rape, it must have happened in the most recent five years to be prosecutable. Felony charges related to rape have no time limit. However, that wasn't always the case. Prior to 2014, it depended on the specific alleged crime and the age of the victim. For victims 18 years or older, the statute of limitations was 10 years or within one year of DNA evidence establishing offender's identity, whichever was later. For victims under 18, the statute of limitations was within 10 years of turning 18 or within one year of DNA evidence establishing offender's identity, whichever was later.
As one can see, the statute of limitations for rape felonies has changed drastically since 2014. Previously, the longest a person could wait was 10 years or one year after DNA evidence was discovered linking a person to a crime. Now the time window is extended, indefinitely for felony rape claims. Those facing criminal charges who have questions about how the laws regarding the statutes of limitations have changed, and how it will apply to them may want to take the steps necessary to understand the issue, so they can formulate a strong defense.