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Do Federal Crimes Have Statutes of Limitations?

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Federal charges are typically reserved for some of the most serious offenses. Do these offenses have statutes of limitations, or are people at risk of being charged with crimes that occurred many years ago?

What are Statutes of Limitations?

Each type of crime has a set statute of limitations, or no statute of limitations at all. This is the length of time that legal action may be taken against a suspect after the initial offense occurs. Once this time has passed, the individual can no longer face legal consequences. A defendant can not be jailed or tried once the statute of limitations has expired.

Federal Crime Statutes of Limitations

Most federal offenses have the same statute of limitations– five years. However, there are exceptions made in the most severe cases.

The statute of limitations may be extended in cases of:

  • Federal tax crimes
  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Racketeering
  • Immigration offenses

In fact, theft of major artwork has one of the longest statutes of limitations– 20 years!

Which Federal Crimes Have No Statute of Limitations?

You may be wondering, what about violent offenses? Cases resulting in someone being seriously injured, killed, or otherwise traumatized typically have no statute of limitations.

These include:

  • Capital murder
  • Murder of a federal employee
  • Treason
  • Espionage
  • Sexual offenses against minors

Are State and Federal Statutes of Limitations the Same?

No, they are not always the same, as state and federal charges are not necessarily identical. Statutes of limitations also vary from state to state.

Federal Defense Attorneys at Palmer Perlstein

If you have recently been indicted on federal charges, contact our defense team at Palmer Perlstein right away. Federal charges of any kind are extremely serious and require you to have an aggressive, knowledgeable defense in your corner to reach the best possible outcome. Our team has fought for countless clients in your shoes; we can help you.