Most of us know that the State of New Jersey cannot charge us with a crime that happened 30 years ago. However, many of us do not know why this is. Some of us have heard the term “statute of limitations,” but are not entirely familiar with what it is. The following information will help explain exactly that while giving you insight into the various statutes of limitation for criminal offenses in NJ.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations prevents the prosecution of crimes that happened after a certain period of time. Essentially, these limitation periods prevent prosecutors from bringing untimely charges against you. Think about it: without statutes of limitation, the state could bring you up on charges for an incident that occurred 20 years ago. However, statutes of limitation prevent this unjust result while simultaneously giving the state ample time to bring charges.
Statutes of Limitation for NJ Crimes
Generally, the statute of limitations for the prosecution of a crime in NJ is 5 years. In other words, the state (in most cases) cannot bring charges against you for an incident that happened over 5 years ago. Prosecution of a crime is said to have commenced at the time an indictment is issued with respect to a criminal offense. However, prosecution for murder or rape can be commenced at any time.
Moreover, when it comes to disorderly persons offenses, the statute of limitations is even lower. The statute of limitations for the prosecution of a disorderly persons offense in NJ is 1 year.
Prosecution of a disorderly persons offense is said to commence at the time a complaint or warrant is issued charging you for the offense. Remember, if you flee, elude, or evade police, the statute of limitations will toll (i.e. be paused).
When this happens, the time stops accruing and you could be charged well after the normal statutory time period due to the pausing of the time bar.
Statute of Limitations Defense
A statute of limitations defense is almost certainly the most effective defense offered to a criminal defendant. If the state attempts to bring charges against you after the statute of limitations has elapsed, you will be able to raise this fact as a defense against being convicted.
If the statute of limitations really did run, a good attorney will be able to get your charges dismissed outright. In order to determine this, it is crucial to be aware of whether the statute of limitations for your offense tolled (i.e. was paused) for any length of time and for how long. After all, if it tolled, then you might not be out of the woods yet. Therefore, it is crucial to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to determine all of this and can present your case in the best possible light.
Who Should You Contact?
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in New Jersey, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm today. His team of criminal defense attorneys will do what they can to protect your legal rights and fight to get your charges dismissed. E-mail or call 888-815-3649 today.