Earlier this year, as reported in the Indianapolis Star, a man walked into the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and confessed to committing a rape in 2005. He was prepared to be arrested then and there and face the consequences of his admitted crime, but he walked away a free man who will never be charged or prosecuted for the rape he committed. In Indiana, a prosecution for rape cannot be commenced more than 5 years after the commission of the offense.
Such time limits on when the state can charge and prosecute individuals for crimes are known as statutes of limitations. Indiana is among just seven states with a statute of limitations of five years or less for filing rape charges. In 11 states, the statute of limitations for rape is from six to 9 years. In 12 others, it ranges from 10 to 20 years. And 20 states have no limit at all.
Many people were understandably upset that an admitted rapist could escape prosecution for such a heinous crime because of the statute, but the overhaul of Indiana’s Criminal Code that became effective on June 30, 2014 made no change to the statute of limitations.
Statute of limitations crimes in Indiana are based on the seriousness of the offense, and are divided by Class (for crimes committed before June 30, 2014) or Level (for crimes committed after June 30, 2014). Some key limitations periods are as follows:
The statute of limitations is “tolled,” meaning the clock stops ticking on the limitations period, during any period when:
If you have questions about criminal statutes of limitations in Indiana or how the calculation or applicability of such statutes may impact your criminal defense, please give me a call.
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