Being accused of a sex crime can ruin your life. Consequently, waiting to find out if the police will act on that accusation can be unnerving. How long do you have to wait before finding out if the police intend to arrest you? Or before the District Attorney plans to formally charge you? The answer is found in the Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations for sex crimes in Georgia can depend on the specific nature of your accusation. Below is a general outline of how the Statute of Limitations applies to GA Sex Crimes. However, contact our office today to schedule a consultation to learn more about defending yourself and protecting your reputation.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
Generally, the Statute of Limitations is a deadline to start legal proceedings. The State cannot formally charge you if the deadline passes. If you have been accused of a sex crime after the deadline to start legal proceedings, the remedy is a dismissal of your charges.
How long does the State have to charge me?
Altogether, Georgia statutes define many different types of sex crimes. The Statute of Limitations can vary depending on the type of accusation, the age of the victim, and the date of the alleged offense. Therefore, this answer depends on specific facts.
For Sex Crimes Occurring between July 2, 1992 – June 30, 2012
The Statute of Limitations is seven years from the date the alleged crime is reported to law enforcement for the following offenses when the victim is younger than 16 years old.
*The measuring of seven years does not begin until the victim turns 16, or until the crime is reported to law enforcement–whichever occurs first.
For Sex Crimes Occurring On or After July 1, 2012
There is NO Statute of Limitations for the following offense when the victim is younger than 16 years old.
- Aggravated Sodomy
- Child Molestation
- Cruelty to Children
- Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes
- Trafficking a Person for Sexual Servitude
Are there other exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Yes. For sex crimes that require DNA to identify the accused, there is NO statute of limitations. For instance, the Statute of Limitations does not run when the police had no way to identify a suspect until the discovery of their DNA. Aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, and rape fall within this exception, accordingly.
Are the Statute of Limitations above, comprehensive?
No. Different crimes can include different statutes of limitations in Georgia. In general, O.C.G.A. 17-3-1 defines the statute of limitations for felonies not mentioned above, no later than four years after the occurrence of a crime. At the same time, the Statute of Limitations can be confusing. Different types of crimes include different types of extensions or exceptions, which ultimately require different interpretations. In addition, certain facts could be the difference between an even shorter Statute of Limitations, or no Statute of Limitations at all.
Needless to say, there are many factors that can impact the statute of limitations. If you want to speak with an attorney about your case and learn more about defending yourself and protecting your reputation, contact our office today.