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Using Statute of Limitations Defenses in St. Petersburg Criminal Cases

Using Statute of Limitations Defenses in St. Petersburg Criminal Cases

Being charged with a crime can be a scary and overwhelming experience. Many people facing criminal charges wonder if the statute of limitations has expired on their case. The statute of limitations refers to the time period the state has to formally file charges against a defendant after an alleged crime occurs[1].

In Florida, the statute of limitations varies depending on the type and severity of the crime[2]. Understanding how statute of limitations defenses work in Florida can be helpful for defendants with older charges pending against them. This article will provide an overview of statute of limitations defenses in St. Petersburg criminal cases.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations sets time restrictions on how long the state has to prosecute an individual for a crime after it occurs[3]. The purpose is to ensure cases are brought in a timely manner so that evidence and witness memories are still intact.

If charges are filed after the statute of limitations expires, the case may be dismissed. However, there are exceptions that can extend or toll the statute of limitations period in certain cases.

How the Statute of Limitations Can Be Tolled

Even if the statute of limitations period has expired, there are circumstances that can pause or toll the statute and give the state more time to prosecute[1]. Reasons the statute can be tolled include:

  • The defendant was continuously absent from Florida or had an unknown address[2].
  • The defendant avoided prosecution using a false name[3].
  • Legal disabilities prevented the victim from reporting the crime[4].
  • Evidence from DNA testing links the defendant to the crime[5].

So while the statute of limitations creates time restrictions, exceptions may apply that extend the deadline.

Using Statute of Limitations Defenses in Your Case

If you’re facing older charges, a statute of limitations defense may help get your case dismissed. A criminal defense attorney can analyze the specifics of your case to determine if the statute of limitations has expired[6].

Christine Twomey
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Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
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2024-03-18
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Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
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Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
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2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Key factors they will evaluate include[3]:

  • The type and degree of charges filed against you.
  • When the alleged crime occurred.
  • When formal charges were filed.
  • Any circumstances that may have tolled the statute of limitations.
  • Whether any exceptions apply that extend the statute of limitations.

If it’s determined the statute of limitations has expired, your attorney can file a motion to dismiss the charges. However, the analysis requires an in-depth understanding of Florida’s complex statute of limitations laws.

An experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney can properly assess if a statute of limitations defense applies in your case. They will know how to argue the motion to convince the judge to dismiss the outdated charges.

Examples of Statute of Limitations Issues in St. Petersburg Cases

To understand how statute of limitations defenses work, it helps to look at some real-world examples of how they have been applied in St. Petersburg criminal cases:

Out-of-State Defendant

In one case, a defendant was charged with grand theft several years after allegedly stealing items from a St. Petersburg business. At the time, he was living out of state.

His defense attorney argued that the statute of limitations had expired before he was charged. However, since the defendant was living outside Florida, the statute of limitations period was tolled.

As a result, the judge ruled the state still had time to prosecute and denied the motion to dismiss.

False Name

A defendant was charged with sale of cocaine that occurred back in 2008. The charges weren’t filed until 2015. The state claimed the statute was tolled because the defendant gave a false name when originally questioned by police.

The defense attorney discovered the defendant’s real name was listed in the police report from 2008. He argued the state failed to prove the defendant actually used a false name to avoid prosecution. The judge agreed and dismissed the charges.

Sexual Battery of a Minor

Charges for sexual battery of a minor have no statute of limitations in Florida[5]. In one case, a defendant was charged in 2016 for crimes that occurred between 1998-2002 against a victim who was under 16.

The defense argued the statute of limitations expired before he was charged. However, due to the nature of the charges and age of the victim, the judge ruled there was no limit to when the state could prosecute.

As you can see, applying statute of limitations defenses requires a thorough review of the case details and Florida law. An experienced criminal defense attorney can make the right arguments before the judge to get outdated charges dismissed.

Consulting a Defense Attorney About Your Statute of Limitations Defense

If you’re facing criminal charges that date back several years, the first step is consulting with a criminal defense attorney. Share details about your case and the lawyer can evaluate if a statute of limitations defense may apply.

Don’t wait and hope the state won’t pursue older charges—be proactive in protecting your rights. An attorney can preserve evidence and witnesses that may be necessary to argue a successful statute of limitations defense.

At the St. Petersburg defense law firm of Montrone Law, we have extensive experience analyzing statute of limitations issues and filing motions to dismiss charges that fall outside the statute. We’ll aggressively argue to protect your rights if the state has exceeded statutory time limits.

Don’t let outdated charges disrupt your life—contact us today to discuss your situation. We offer free case evaluations so you can make informed decisions on how to fight the charges. Take control of your future by asserting your legal rights.

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