Criminal Statutes of Limitations

Criminal Statutes of Limitations in Illinois

When you or a loved one have been charged with a criminal offense in Illinois, don't wait to get a qualified defense lawyer on your side. The attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have dedicated over three decades to representing people accused of crimes. No matter what the accusations against you are, we will ensure that your rights are protected, and you receive the fair trial that you’re entitled to. Most people are unfamiliar with Illinois laws and statutes that apply to them and as such, they are often unable to properly defend themselves in court without the assistance of legal counsel.

Our Chicago criminal defense attorneys understand the overwhelming feelings and emotions that accompany being arrested. Defendants are often unsure of what to do next and don’t know how to protect themselves when charged with a crime. Once you hire our legal team, we’ll handle all the legal aspects of your case for you. We’ll prepare a superior defense and work to have your charges reduced or dropped altogether. Our goal is to ensure that you receive the full protection that you are entitled to under the Constitution and the laws of Illinois.

We take great pride in the reputation we’ve built within the legal community. We hold an “AV Preeminent” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest possible rating available. Mitchell S. Sexner, the firm’s founder, has also received recognition from various organizations, including The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Attorneys, Super Lawyers, and Best Attorneys of America. Additionally, Mr. Sexner has appeared as a legal commentator on television.

Illinois Statutes of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a time limit that runs from the date of an alleged offense after which criminal charges are forever barred and can no longer be filed. If the statute of limitations expires before any charges are filed, a person cannot be formally accused of a crime. This is because, as time passes, witnesses' memories fade and critical evidence may be destroyed or lost. Requiring statutes of limitations in criminal cases ensures that physical evidence and witnesses are fresh and increases its reliability.

In the state of Illinois (according to 720 ILCS 5/3-5) the statute of limitations for most felonies is three years, and the statute of limitations for misdemeanors is typically 18 months. Specific statutes of limitations for certain specific crimes committed in Illinois are as follows (with certain exceptions):

  • Theft of property with a value exceeding $100,000 under Section 16-1, identity theft under Section 16-30(a), aggravated identity theft, or a financial crime under Article 16H: Seven years.
  • Identity theft under Section 16-30: within five years of the victim discovering the crime has occurred.
  • Child pornography, promoting juvenile prostitution, indecent solicitation of a child, aggravated child pornography, soliciting for a juvenile prostitute, juvenile pimping, or exploitation of a child: within one year from the date the victim turned 18, with the period never expiring sooner than three years after the date of the offense. So, if the victim is a minor at the time of the crime, the prosecution may occur within one year from the date the victim turns 18, provided the period does not expire sooner than three years after the offense.
  • Criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse: within ten years of the date of the offense if the victim reported the crime within three years after it occurred.
  • Crimes involving sexual conduct or sexual penetration where the offender was in a professional or fiduciary relationship with the victim: within one year after discovery.
  • Criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, or felony criminal sexual abuse of a victim under 18 years of age, or for a failure to report any listed offenses under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act: no more than 20 years after the victim turns 18.
  • Misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse of a victim under 18 years old: within ten years after the victim turns 18.
  • Breach of a fiduciary obligation of a victim that’s a minor or under legal disability: within one year of the termination of that status.
  • Misconduct by a public officer or employee while in office: one year after the discovery of the crime or within one year after the prosecuting office becomes aware of the crime, with a maximum of three additional years.

Crimes Exempt from a Statute of Limitations

In the case of other serious crimes, there are exemptions from these statutes of limitations. That means the alleged perpetrator may face charges at any time, even decades after the initial crime occurred. According to Illinois Statutes 720 ILCS 5/3-55/3-6, and 5/3-7, those serious crimes include the following:

    First-degree murder/attempted first-degree murder

  • Second-degree murder
  • Concealment of a homicidal death
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Failure to give information and render aid under the Illinois Vehicle Code under Section 11-403
  • Reckless homicide
  • Arson/aggravated arson/residential arson
  • Forgery
  • Child pornography/aggravated child pornography under Section 11-20.1(1)(a) or 11-20.1B(1)(a)
  • Treason
  • Leaving the scene of a car accident resulting in death or injuries under Section 11-401
  • Sexual assault and abuse against a child

Statute of Limitations Extensions

The Illinois Criminal Code (720 ILCS 5/3-6, from Ch. 38, par. 3-6, Text of Section from P.A. 101-18) permits the statute of limitations to be extended when particular circumstances arise. The following conditions are excluded from the calculation of the statute of limitations under certain circumstances:

  • If the offender is not “publicly” or “usually” a resident of the State of Illinois, then the statute of limitations “clock” stops during this time period. Upon return, the statute of limitations countdown resumes.
  • If any material witness reports for active military duty or is on military leave.
  • If the accused faces prosecution for the same conduct at the same time.
  • If the offender is a public officer charged with the theft of any public funds.
  • During the period the Illinois State Police analyze sexual assault evidence.
  • If an individual suffered violence or threats of violence in order to obtain information or a confession, during the time of their resulting incarceration.

What Should I Do If I Am Arrested in Illinois?

Most individuals are unsure of their fundamental rights when interacting with law enforcement. Although on the whole, police officers do care about upholding the law, it’s not uncommon for certain police officers to violate innocent peoples' rights on a consistent basis. If you have been taken advantage of or treated unlawfully by the police, it’s generally best to hire an experienced attorney to help you in court rather than trying to handle your case on your own. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side is your best chance of preserving your rights, freedom, and reputation. If you've been arrested and charged with a crime in Illinois, call the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC for help.

When you hire us, we will begin working on your case immediately. The early hours of any criminal case are crucial. We will need to collect critical pieces of evidence quickly; otherwise, they could deteriorate, disappear, or become ineffective in building a strong defense. We’ll also work to locate any witnesses that could support your alibi or dispute police accounts of what happened and who was involved. The witnesses we find could prove extremely beneficial in your case and may even provide expert testimony at your trial under some situations.

It is our job to raise doubts about your guilt by providing details and information that dispute the prosecutor’s arguments. This evidence that we seek to use in your trial is essential to reaching a not guilty verdict or ensuring that your charges get reduced. We’ll always try to get your case dismissed when the prosecution lacks supporting evidence and do our best to keep your record clean.

Call Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC to Speak With An Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one were arrested or charged with a crime, your first call should be to Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC. We’ve been fighting for our clients for over 30 years. Our experience in building a strong defense is the basis of our long-term success. We know the necessary evidence to collect and specific Illinois laws to follow when building your case. Since opening our firm, we’ve represented more than 20,000 clients and secured successful outcomes under the most difficult of circumstances.

Seeking justice is of the utmost importance to us. We use all the resources, training, and skills at our disposal to ensure that you receive quality representation. We know the burden you’re facing. It’s emotionally draining when you’re facing possible fines, jail time, or a conviction permanently placed upon your record. We’ll be there for you every step of the way to help you through this challenging time in your life.

We'll always provide you with advice and be sure to meet your individualized needs. We know no two clients are alike. We'll listen to what your goals are and do whatever possible in order to reach them. We're here to provide you with the best defense possible.

Contact the Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC right now. We provide free consultations, and there’s no risk or obligation involved. We are happy to meet with you to review the details of your case and determine if we can be of help. Call (312) 644-0444 for free information or a consultation right away.

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Written by Mitchell S. Sexner Last Updated : July 2, 2020