Statute of Limitations
Florida statute 775.15 requires that an information be filed within a specific period of time. If the state attorney’s office does not file formal charges within the required period of time then they cannot charge someone with a crime or if they do, you are entitled to have it dismissed. The time severity of the alleged offense determines the time period to file formal charges. Below are listed the general statute of limitations for crimes, but it should be noted that very specific crimes have varying requirements for the commencement of the prosecution.
- A first-degree felony must be commenced within four years after being committed
- A prosecution for a second-degree felony must be commenced within three years after being committed
- A prosecution for a third-degree felony must be commenced within three years after being committed
- A prosecution for a first-degree misdemeanor must be commenced within two years
- A prosecution for a second-degree misdemeanor must be commenced within 1 year of being committed
- There are no time limitations on capital and life felony offenses
It is important to understand that a prosecution is deemed to have “commenced” once the prosecutor has filed an information or an indictment. There is no requirement that a person receives their trial within that time period.
On May 1, 1015 Adam is accused by Brian hitting him in the face and breaking his nose. The broken nose makes the allegation a felony battery. Brian called 911 and a police report was generated. The police send the report to the state attorney’s office.
Example A: The prosecutor in the case files an Information on February 1, 2018, but Adam is not arrested until May 15, 2018. Adam hires Moses and Rooth and is excited because he knows that over three years has gone by since the allegation. The problem for Adam is that the case was filed on (the Information has been filed) before the statute of limitations had run even though he was arrested after the statute had run.
Example B: The prosecutor in the case files an Information on May 2, 2018, but Adam is not arrested until May 15, 2018. In this situation when Adam hires Moses and Rooth, we will have the case dismissed because the prosecution had not commenced before the statute of limitations had run.
Understanding how your old case may benefit from arguing for a dismissal due to the statute of limitations is important. If you or a loved one has an older case, please feel free to contact Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law.
Statute of Limitations Resources