The statute of limitations is the time limit for filing charges against the defendant. The general federal statute of limitations for felonies stand for the proposition that the government can no longer file criminal charges for an offense once 5 years has passed. The federal statute of limitations is 18 USC Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, no person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any offense, not capital, unless the indictment is found or the information is instituted within five years next after such offense shall have been committed.
Purpose of the Statute of Limitations The main purpose of the statute of limitations is to keep defendants from having to defend themselves from charges that occurred so far into the past that it makes it impossible to properly defend oneself.
In many of these cases, evidence may no longer be available, making it harder to defend oneself and prove one's innocence. It would violate the defendant's right to receive due process under the law and the right to receive a fair trial if a prosecution was to take place under those conditions The argument that the statute of limitations has run is a defense against a criminal charge, yet if it is not presented before a trial begins, the defendant likely has waived their right to use this as a defense.
In order to successfully use the statute of limitations defense, it is necessary to show that the criminal complaint or indictment was filed after the 5 year period of the statute of limitations had run. Federal law says that the general 5-year statute of limitations applies in every case unless there is a specific code section that extends the statute of limitations for that particular offense. For capital crimes, such as the capital murder, there is no statute of limitations 18 USC Terrorism is also not subject to any statute of limitations where the offense caused death or serious bodily injury or harm 18 USC Sexual offenses against children also have no statute of limitations 18 USC Many white collar crimes have their own statute of limitations.
Federal tax law states that charges for tax crimes such as tax evasion, 26 USC , failure to file a tax return, 26 USC , must be filed within 6 years from the date of the offense. Major fraud against the United States has certain conditions for the statute of limitations. The charge of major fraud against the US is established by 18 USC and must involve at a minimum 1,, A person guilty of an offense where he knowingly defrauds the federal government in any grant, contract, loan, federal assistance, etc.
The statute of limitations for major fraud against the United States is 7 years from the date that the crime was committed. There are instances where the statute of limitations will be extended by the court after petition by the United States Attorney. These are some examples: Original charges were dismissed. Federal prosecutors can reinstate charges for an additional 6 months after the statute of limitations has run.
The offense took place in a foreign country, or evidence is located in foreign territory. For Immigration offenses, federal law extends the statute of limitations from 5 years to 10 for the following offenses: Using false or fraudulent citizenship papers.
Impersonating another as an applicant, declarant, petitioner, or witness in citizenship or naturalization proceedings. Obtaining citizenship or naturalization illegally.
Manufacture, sale, distribution, or reproduction of false, forged, fraudulent, or counterfeit citizenship or naturalization papers. Sale of otherwise legal naturalization or citizenship papers. Issuing a passport without authority. Making a false statement in an application for a passport. Falsifying, forging, counterfeiting, mutilating, or altering a passport. Using a passport belonging to another person. The statute of limitations for banks and other financial institutions is 10 years for the following offenses: Bank fraud scheme or artifice to defraud a financial institution.
Mail fraud using the mails for a scheme or artifice to defraud. Wire fraud using wire, radio, or television in a scheme or artifice to defraud. Receipt of commissions or gifts for procuring loans. Theft, embezzlement, or misapplication by bank officer or employee. Embezzling funds from a federal financial institution. Falsifying bank records reports, entries or transactions. Falsifying records of a federal financial institution reports, entries or transactions 18 USC Making a false statement or report, or overvaluing assets for a federal loan 18 USC Making a false statement or report, or overvaluing assets as it relates to insurance and a financial institution.
Major fraud against the United States. For instance, in conspiracies prosecuted under 18 USC involving a conspiracy to commit a federal offense or to defraud the United States, the statute begins to run on the date that the last act that was a part of the conspiracy was taken.
The same applies to conspiracies to defraud the federal government by making fabricated claims under 18 USC , and drug trafficking 21 USC