Proposal to End Statute of Limitations in Florida Sexual Battery Cases
A statute of limitation is an important legal rule that determines the time frame in which a legal action may be filed after a given event. There are important reasons why limitations must be applied to legal claims: evidence is lost, destroyed, or decayed to the point where it is no longer helpful. Witnesses have memories that become less accurate over time. Defendants have the right to present fresh evidence and persuasive witnesses to defend legal claims made against them.
In general, more serious crimes have longer statutes of limitations. But now one Florida lawmaker wants to abolish the statute of limitation entirely for charges of sexual battery. While there are arguments for victims’ rights, there are also arguments for the Constitutional rights of criminal defendants. If you or a loved one are facing charges of sexual battery, contact the experienced Miami criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. as soon as possible. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that State Representative Adam Hattersley filed the bill in response to the recent Me Too movement. By eliminating the statute of limitations, Florida rape cases could be prosecuted any time after the allegations are made. “A family has to have a path to justice, even if it’s difficult 20 years later,” Hattersley said. “The path has to be open.”
While victims’ rights advocates believe that this is an important step toward prosecuting all allegations of sexual violence, the proposal does carry the risk of seriously impairing defendants’ constitutional rights. Both the federal and state Constitutions guarantee criminal defendants the right to a fair defense. This includes the right to consult with an attorney at all critical stages of criminal proceedings, the right to refuse to testify against oneself, the right to call witnesses and present evidence in one’s own defense, and the right to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses against the defendant. Some of these rights can be impaired over time. For example, evidence may no longer exist, or be in such poor condition that it cannot be fairly analyzed. This is a particular issue in the prosecution of sexual assault and battery cases, which often include the use of DNA evidence.
Furthermore, witnesses do not have perfect memories. As time passes, the prosecution’s witnesses will be less able to recall the evidence against the defendant accurately, and the defense witnesses will be less able to recall evidence that exonerates the defendant accurately. Both of these scenarios seriously impair a defendant’s ability to fairly defend him- or herself.
Let an Experienced, Aggressive Miami Criminal Defense Attorney Protect Your Constitutional Rights
As time passes, a defendants’ ability to defend themselves from criminal charges adequately can be impaired. This is why it is important to consult with an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney who can determine the best legal strategy to address such a situation. The seasoned attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. has wide-ranging experience in defending sexual battery charges in the courts of Florida.
Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible. The longer you wait to seek legal advice, the more likely it is that your legal rights could become impaired. You can also send us an email through our online contact form.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Miami Defense Criminal Attorney.