As a general rule, the federal statute of limitations is five years for any crime per 18 U.S.C. 3282. This is the default statute of limitations for any crime that does not have specific conflicting related statute. There are, however, some general exceptions to this rule:
- Any capital offense (any offense that is punishable by the death penalty) has an unlimited statute of limitations.
- Crimes related to terrorist acts that cause serious bodily harm or threatened the same also have no statute of limitations. Actions that violate terrorism laws in a non-violent way have an eight-year statute of limitations.
- Sex crimes that involve a child victim similarly can be prosecuted at any time after the crime took place.
- Financial crimes involving banking institutions such as embezzlement, fraud, corruption or otherwise manipulating bank books have a statute of limitations of 10 years.
- Immigration offenses are punishable for up to ten years after they occur.
- Majorly defrauding the U.S. government or any organization under its mandate has a seven-year statute of limitations.
- Tax evasion or fraud or any other offense prosecuted by the IRS has a six-year statute of limitations.
- Theft of a major piece of artwork has a statute of limitations of 20 years.
There are other situations related to how the crime took place that may affect the statute of limitations, but generally, these are the important exceptions in federal law. The only other important thing to remember that if a defendant evades or escapes custody before charges can be formally filed, the statute of limitations are frozen until they return to custody.
Call a Roanoke Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Statutes of limitations are a cornerstone of the U.S. legal system and should always be followed. If you think your rights related to statute of limitations are being denied, you should call a Roanoke federal criminal defense lawyer immediately to discuss your case. We are always here to help citizens of Virginia fight for their rights. You can reach us at (540) 343-9349 for a free consultation.