The statute of limitations on prosecuting crimes varies by location and type of crime. Generally, felonies and other violent crimes have a longer statute of limitations than misdemeanors, which means that individuals can be charged with crimes such as rape or murder years after alleged events.
One St. Louis man was recently convicted of raping a woman. The alleged incident occurred in 2004, and prosecutors used DNA evidence to make the case against the man. According to reports, the man was arrested in 2011 on drug charges. At that time, DNA evidence was entered into a national database. The 2011 DNA was linked to the 2004 crime.
The man pleaded not guilty to the rape. According to court documents, the man claimed that sex was consensual. The defense suggested that the woman claimed the incident was rape because she was ashamed of having a one-night stand.
Prosecutors claimed that the sex was not consensual. They say the man followed the woman out of a bar and shared a cab with her. He allegedly told her he had no money, so she offered him a ride home. The woman was taking the cab from the bar to her car, say reports.
According to prosecutors, the man forced the woman to drive into an alley. He then allegedly raped her in the mud, using her scarf to keep her from crying out. A jury found the 41-year-old man guilty of second-degree assault and forcible rape.
Criminal defense requirements are not lessened by the length of time since a crime allegedly occurred. Though time limits do give criminal defense professionals another avenue to pursue in strategy, the same requirements regarding evidence and legal procedures come into play as they do in any criminal case.
Source: BDN.com, “DNA leads to conviction 10 years after crime” No author given, Jun. 20, 2014