Anyone who has been convicted of a crime will likely feel panic knowing that they may be sentenced to spend years of their life in jail. But, what happens if the crime that they are being charged with happened years ago? People can change over the years and that means that it’s quite possible that you have changed, too. The good news is that the Garden State does actually have laws that can prevent you from going to jail if the crime happened long ago.
These laws are called statutes of limitations. They work by giving a maximum amount of time that a person has before they basically waive the right to press charges for a crime that has been committed. Here’s what every defendant should know about statutes of limitations.
- New Jersey does not have a statute of limitations on murder or manslaughter. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the crime was committed 5 minutes ago or 50 years ago – you will end up going to court if you have been charged with one of these two offenses.
- Sex crimes involving a minor in New Jersey often do have a statute of limitations. Most sex crimes must be prosecuted 5 years after the time that the victim turns 18.
- Most felonies have a 5 year statute of limitations.
- Official misconduct, such as bribery and forgery, generally has a statute of limitations of 7 years.
- Minor offenses, including disorderly conduct, have a 1 year statute of limitation.
It is very important to remember that there are conditions that can cause the statute of limitations law to be unlikely to help you. If you are fleeing justice, or if there is already a case with prosecution pending against you, the statute of limitations clause does not apply to you.
If you have been accused or charged with a crime, you will need a criminal defense lawyer who understands what needs to be done in order to protect you from the harm that the New Jersey criminal system can do to you, your family, and your finances.
John Tumelty is a New Jersey Supreme Court certified criminal defense attorney who has the years of knowledge and experience needed to ensure that you win the case. Call our firm today for a quick and easy consultation – we are the team you need!