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Indiana statute of limitations on criminal offenses

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2022 | Criminal Defense

It’s important to understand the basics of the Indiana statute of limitations for crimes because they can be a little complex and complicated. For instance, what are the time limits on filing a criminal charge? How much time do I have to file a civil case against someone who committed an offense against me? The answers depend on what type of crime or injury has occurred and when it happened. There are no hard and fast rules about how long these statutes last, but there are general guidelines that can be followed.

Indiana Criminal Statute of Limitations: Overview

In Indiana, the general statute of limitations for crimes is one (or two) years from either when the crime happened or when it was discovered. This means that if no charges are brought within this period, and there’s been no arrest made before then, then the state has lost its right to prosecute an alleged perpetrator. Exceptions to this rule include murder, sex crimes, fraud, other white-collar crimes, and medical malpractice suits.

The Discovery Rule and Fraudulent Concealment

The “discovery” or “delayed discovery” rule allows victims to file lawsuits even if they did not know a defendant’s actions had harmed them until after the two-year window has passed. This rule applies when it would be unfair to require someone to discover their injury before being able to bring legal action against someone else who may have caused that harm. A criminal defense attorney can help you avoid traps that can come with this statute of limitation.

However, there is an exception to this rule known as “fraudulent concealment.” This happens when the defendant actively tries to hide their wrongful conduct from the victim in order to prevent them from filing a lawsuit. In these cases, the statute of limitations may be extended beyond the normal two-year limit.

The reason for these limitations is to ensure trials have the best available evidence and to avoid the risk of having a potential wrongful conviction overturned on appeal. It’s best to understand the limitations to avoid not getting justice for wrongful acts against you.