In Florida, there are time limitations for when a person may be prosecuted for an alleged crime. These time limitations are established in chapter 775.15, Florida Statutes. This is commonly referred to as the Statute of Limitations.
Generally, the most serious felonies (such as murder, Lewd and Lascivious Molestation of a child…) are known as capital, life felonies, or first degree felonies. There is no time limitation for these charges. A second degree felony has a four year limitation. A third degree felony has a three year limitation. A first degree misdemeanor is two years. A second degree misdemeanor is one year. There are many offenses that have different limitations, such as some Theft/Fraud charges that carry a five year limitation.
Of important note, the courts will not likely dismiss a case on a limitations grounds if the defendant has been absent from the State or absconded. There are many other things to consider when dealing with a time limitations issue, such as when the courts consider that a prosecution has commenced for purposes of calculating the time. These issues are complex, subject to interpretation, and require the attention of a skilled advocate.
If you are facing a criminal charge and think there is a time limitation issue, you should hire an Orlando criminal attorney to assert your defenses.