Michigan Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations sets the maximum time after the commission of a crime that the government can bring charges.
Statute of Limitations for Criminal Cases – The Basics
The purpose and effect of the statute of limitations is to protect defendants from long-delayed prosecutions on felony or misdemeanor charges. Three reasons support the existence of these protections: (1) that a plaintiff with good causes of action should pursue them promptly; (2) that a defendant might have lost evidence to disprove a claim, and (3) that prosecuting a case that has lingered for an extended period is cruel and not consistent with justice. The general rule is that the limitation period starts at the time the alleged crime’s commission.
Michigan Statute of Limitations for Criminal Cases
Statutes of Limitations in criminal cases in Michigan are controlled by MCL 767.24, unless the specific crime contains its own limitations period. The statute of limitations is a waivable affirmative defense. Waivable means that if the defendant does not assert the statute of limitations as a defense, he or she cannot later complain about the delayed prosecution.
In Michigan, some serious crimes such as murder, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit murder, rape, crimes involving explosives and bombs, and involving terrorism have no statute of limitations.
Federal Law Control The Issue of Search Warrants
Several crimes have a 10-year statute of limitations period or by the victim’s 21st birthday – whichever is later. These crimes are almost all sexual in nature. However, there is no limitation period if the offender is unidentified, and DNA evidence ultimately identifies the person. After identification, the prosecutor has 10 years or by the alleged victim’s 21st birthday – whichever is later to charge the offender.
There is also a 10-year statute of limitations on kidnapping, extortion, assault with intent to murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and first degree home invasion.
If there is not a specific designation regarding the statute of limitations as it relates to a particular crime – then the case must be brought within 6 years. This limitation applies to almost all felony and misdemeanor charges in Michigan.
Some situations may toll the running of the statute of limitations period. Tolling extends the time for the government to bring criminal charges after the “technical” date the statutory period expired. For example, if the suspect leaves the State of Michigan, the time period is temporarily stopped until he or she returns.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys in Michigan
If you, or a loved one, are facing allegations of a criminal act that occurred years ago, the statute of limitations might be a viable defense for you. To succeed with a sophisticated defense, such as the statute of limitations, you need expert legal help to protect you and assert any, and all, defenses that are available to you. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. appear in state and federal court every day and have decades of experience in representing people charged with crimes. We would be happy to answer any questions you have.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.