If you or a loved one are being investigated for a crime in Nevada, you likely have many questions. Among these questions may be how long Nevada prosecutors have to file criminal charges against you.
There are several factors that determine the answer to that question. Most criminal cases have a statute of limitations, which means the prosecutor has a limited time to file charges or request a grand jury indictment against you. Based on the crime allegedly committed, the statute of limitations will vary.
If you would like more information about criminal statutes of limitations and how long it takes for a prosecutor to file charges, don’t hesitate to contact Dempsey, Roberts and Smith at (702) 388-1216 for a free consultation.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations refers to time limits imposed by law for bringing legal action. For violations of specific laws, Nevada law imposes different statutes of limitations (time limits) for beginning criminal proceedings. Exceptions or extensions of the time limit may also be brought into effect.
Purpose of the Statute of Limitations
If many years have passed since an alleged criminal event, a defendant is protected from prosecution by the statute of limitations. This prevents situations in which evidence disappears or deteriorates, or witnesses’ testimony becomes unavailable or unreliable, making it more difficult to defend against the charges.
Nevada Offenses With No Statute of Limitations
In Nevada and many other jurisdictions, the seriousness of some offenses outweighs the reasons for prompt prosecution. For instance, there is no statute of limitations on murder prosecutions. This is why you hear news reports about prosecutors charging defendants with murder decades after the crime was committed.
Time Limitations for Prosecuting Felony Charges
The statute of limitations for felonies is divided into several different categories, the longest being 20 years for sexual assault (rape).
The following felony offenses carry a 4 year time limit:
- Sex trafficking
- Deceptive trade practices
- Multiple-transaction business fraud
- Securities fraud
All other felonies not specifically listed above have a statute of limitations of 3 years.
Statute of Limitations for Misdemeanors
In the case of gross misdemeanors, the statute of limitations is 2 years; in the case of other misdemeanors, it is 1 year.
What Happens When the Prosecution Period Expires?
A prosecutor cannot pursue a case after the statute of limitations has expired. If the prosecutor does file a case, the court will dismiss it.
There are some exceptions, such as charges of sexual assault, that can extend a statute of limitations.
Applying the laws to specific circumstances can be very challenging, so it is essential that you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you are facing charges related to statute of limitations matters.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Henderson Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing federal or state charges, our Henderson criminal defense lawyers can help. To schedule a free consultation, call (702) 388-1216. We aggressively defend against all charges, including those involving Nevada’s time limits for criminal prosecution.