Changes Could Soon be Made to Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Rape Cases
Rape, or unwanted sexual harassment, is not uncommon in Florida. As long as the incident is reported and investigated without delay and the perpetrator is charged s/he will end up in court to face the charge in no time at all.
Rape is one of those intentional crimes that instil fear in the victim. So often, rape cases don’t emerge until long after the event has taken place. Even in some cases decades later. Victims are afraid of having to face retaliation if the rapist isn’t apprehended quickly and put behind bars. Sooner or later, anger and bitterness gets the better of them and s/he reports the rape to the police.
In Florida, if a victim fails to report a rape within 72 hours of the incident, the clock starts to tick and the state then gives 8 years for a victim to come forward reporting the rape.
Statute of Limitations in Florida
The statute of limitations is the time allowed for the taking of legal action. Under Florida law, typically the limitations are as follows:
• 4 years for a 1st degree felony, • 3 years for all other felonies, • none for a crime that has resulted in death or is likely to lead to life in prison, • 2 years for a 1st degree misdemeanor, • 1 year for a 2nd degree misdemeanor.
Typically, a crime that involved rape used to come under the 4 year / 1st degree felony. However, in 2015, a victim of rape called Danielle Sullivan missed by 43 days this four year window pressed for a bill named the "43 Days Initiative" to be passed that extended the statute of limitation to 8 years. This was passed which resulted in a law change.
Statute of limitations could be changed for rape
The change to the present law, which at the moment is being proposed, includes dropping completely the 72 hour time period for reporting the crime, and dropping completely the time limit to investigate the crime. There would no longer be any statute of limitations so that rape crimes can be reported and investigated however long ago the incident happened. If this bill is passed it will become law in 2020.
Two bills are currently being proposed that would begin to lift that statute of limitations for both civil and criminal cases, respectively. Senate Bill 170 and the House Bill 199 would take away any statute of limitations present for criminal cases of sexual battery as long as the victim was under 18 at the time when the crime was committed. House Bill 277 would remove the statute of limitations completely for any civil cases brought by sexual assault victims and other sexual crimes.
The expected changes to Florida laws are basically keeping in line with other states more modernized laws regarding the statute of limitations.
If you have been accused of rape or sexual assault and the incident is within Florida’s current statute of limitations you will need to seek help from experienced Miami criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes Esq., as penalties for a conviction for rape are some of the harshest in the country. You can call him at his Law Firm office at 305-644-1800.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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