How long can a person claim statutory rape after the sexual encounter?

UPDATED: Mar 24, 2011

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How long can a person claim statutory rape after the sexual encounter?

Under FL law.

Asked on March 24, 2011 under Criminal Law, Florida


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First I need to say that I am sorry for your situation and I hope that you get the help that you need with all of this on an emotional level. 

Florida has a statute of limitations for sexual assault in both the civil side and the criminal side.  I am going to focus on the criminal side.  Here is what I have found:

For criminal cases, a prosecutor may file a charge of aggravated rape at any time, regardless of the age of the victim and with no time limitation (an aggravated rape is generally a rape that involves a weapon, more than one person, or seriously injures the victim).  

Prosecution for sexual assault or abuse has a statute of limitations of four years.   However, there is an exception made for DNA analysis, which allows for the prosecution of a rapist anytime within one year of the discovery of DNA evidence, even if it is discovered after the ordinary statute of limitations period ran out.
In regards to child molestation specifically, there have recently been many changes to the statute of limitations nationwide.  Indeed, eleven states have completely removed the limitations for child-sex crimes in the past 10 years.  But after the Supreme court ruled that retroactively changing the statute of limitations (in order to prosecute crimes from long ago) was unconstitutional, many states were forced to scrap plans to do just that (Florida was one such state).  The current law only allows four years from the date of the incident, but the law is likely to have changed as of 2006, where there was a push to extend it to 10 years.  

What's more, Florida has an extremely large number of complicated exceptions to it's limitation rules, so you should talk to an attorney familiar with Florida law for the most up to date information.  Good luck to you.



IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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