When a crime is committed law enforcement agencies typically begin an immediate investigation in the hope of identifying and arresting the perpetrator. In the vast majority of crimes a suspect is identified and arrested within a relatively short period of time after the crime is reported to the police. Sometimes, however, a crime remains unsolved and no arrest is made for months, even years, after the crime took place. What happens though if the police believe they have identified a suspect long after the crime happened? Can the suspect still be charged? If that suspect is you, the first question you likely have is “How long does the State have to charge me ?”
The answer to that question can be rather complicated because of the various factors that can impact the time within which the State of Nebraska must prosecute a defendant. Because you may have a defense based on the expiration of the relevant statute of limitations it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney about your specific situation; however, a basic understanding of those factors and the overall statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions may be a good starting point.
All lawsuits, whether civil or criminal, are governed by what is known as a “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitation determines how long a Plaintiff, in the case of a civil lawsuit, or the State in the case of a criminal prosecution, has to initiate the legal action. In a criminal prosecution there may be additional statutes that govern how long the State has to conclude the matter once charges have been filed; however, the most important consideration for a potential defendant is the statute of limitations because that determines the point after which charges cannot be filed (unless an exception applies).
Nebraska Revised Statute 29-110 is where the statutes of limitations applicable to criminal offenses can be found in Nebraska. The following are the statutes of limitations found in Section 29-110 for most types of criminal offenses in Nebraska.
- Most felonies
- Most misdemeanors, fines or forfeitures
- Offenses punishable by no more than a $100 fine and/or no more than 3 months in jail
- Kidnapping 28-313
- False imprisonment 28-314 or 28-315
- Child abuse 28-707
- Pandering 28-802
- Debauching a minor 28-805
- An offense under section 28-813, 28-813.01, or 28-1463.03 when the victim is under sixteen years of age at the time of the offense
NOTE: In prosecutions for the above offenses involving under age victims, the statute of limitations runs from the time the offense was committed or within seven years next after the victim’s sixteenth birthday, whichever is later.
- Violations of the Securities Act of Nebraska 8-1117
- Criminal impersonation 28-638
- Identity theft 28-639
- Identity fraud 28-640
- Welfare/assistance fraud 68-1017
No Statute of Limitations
- Sexual assault in the first or second degree 28-319 or 28-320
- Sexual assault of a child in the second or third degree 28-320.01
- Incest under section 28-703
- Sexual assault of a child in the first degree 28-319.01
- Sexual assault in the third degree 28-320 when the victim is under sixteen years of age at the time of the offense.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.