Which statute of limitations apply the ones at the time of the alleged crime or the ones at the time of the charges?

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Which statute of limitations apply the ones at the time of the alleged crime or the ones at the time of the charges?

My husband has been falsely accused of statutory rape. At the time of the alleged statutory rape (13 years ago), the statute of limitations said the charges had to be commenced within 10 years of the alleged victim turning 18. Then, 10 years ago, the statute of limitations was changed to 20 years after the alleged victim turned 18. The charges were pressed 1 month after the alleged victim turned 28, so not within 10 years of her turning 18.

Asked on December 30, 2013 under Criminal Law, Missouri

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The applicable statute of limitations would be the ten year statute from when the crime occurred.  In other words, charges would have had to have been brought within that ten year period.  The fact that the charges were not filed until after the ten year statute of limitations had tolled (expired) should bar prosecution on those charges.

An ex post facto law is one that has a retroactive or retrospective effect.  In other words, when the statute of limitations was extended to twenty years, it would not be retroactive.  Your husband would be subject to the ten year statute of limitations when the alleged crime occurred.

The twenty year statute of limitations would apply to crimes occurring upon or after the effective date of that statute.

There is case law which holds that "The operation of a statute to repeal, extend the period of, or provide for the tolling of a statute of limitations under which a complete defense has already occurred would be ex post facto".

An ex post facto law is unconstitutional.


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