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Statute of Limitations for Sexual Battery

In Florida, the statute of limitations for sexual battery crimes establishes the time limits that might bar a prosecution if the case is too old. The statute of limitations for crimes in Florida is found in Section 775.15, F.S.

As a general rule, the statute of limitation for prosecuting a sexual battery begins to run on the day after the offense is allegedly committed. 

Under Section 775.15(3), F.S., the crime is “deemed to have been committed” when either every element of the offense has occurred or, if it plainly appears that the legislative purpose is to prohibit a continuing course of conduct, at the time when the course of conduct or the defendant’s complicity therein is terminated.

Attorney for Sexual Battery Crimes in Tampa, FL

If you were accused of the crime of sexual battery in Tampa, FL, or the surrounding areas in the greater Tampa Bay area, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

Our main office is located in Tampa, FL, in Hillsborough County. We have a second office located in New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL.

Contact us for a free and confidential consultation to discuss the sexual battery accusation, the possible penalties, ways to fight the charges, and how the statute of limitations might impact your case

Call 813-250-0500.

List of the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Battery in Florida

The time limitations for initiating any criminal prosecution for a felony offense are found in 775.15, F.S., which provides:

  • A three (3) year time limitation for prosecuting a second or third-degree felony (see Section 775.15(2)(b));
  • A four (4) year time limitation for prosecuting a first-degree felony (see Section 775.15(2)(a)); or
  • No time limitation for prosecuting a capital felony, a life felony, a felony resulting in death (see Section 775.15(1), F.S.).

Despite these provisions, Florida law contains numerous exceptions to the time limitations listed above. Many of these exceptions have been carved out for certain types of offenses or certain types of victims. For sexual battery crimes prosecuted under Section 794.011, F.S., several exceptions to the general rules for the statute of limitations apply.

For example, Florida law provides for no time limitation for prosecuting:

  • A first or second-degree felony sexual battery when the victim is 16 years of age or older and reports the crime to law enforcement within 72 hours (see Section 775.15(14)(a), F.S.);
  • A first or second-degree felony sexual battery when the victim is under 18 years of age and he or she reports the crime to law enforcement within 72 hours provided the offense was not barred from prosecution on or before December 31, 1984 (see Section 775.15(13)(a), F.S.);
  • Any felony sexual battery when the victim is younger than 16 years of age provided the offense was not barred from prosecution on or before July 1, 2010 (see Section 775.15(13)(c), F.S.); or
  • A first-degree felony sexual battery when the victim is younger than 18 years of age provided the offense was not barred from prosecution on or before October 1, 2003 (see Section 775.15(13)(b), F.S.).

Extending the Statute of Limitations in Some Sexual Battery Cases

Florida law also provides an exception that provides that the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the victim of a sexual battery or other specified offense reaches the age of 18 years or the violation is reported to a law enforcement or governmental agency, whichever occurs first. This provision only applies to a victim who was younger than 18 years of age at the time of the offense as provided in Section 775.15(13)(a), F.S. 

Statute of Limitations for DNA Testing in Sexual Battery Cases

When it comes to some types of sexual battery cases, the crime may be prosecuted at any time after the date on which the offender’s identity is established, or should have been established through the exercise of due diligence, through the analysis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence collected at the time of the original investigation. As provided in Section 775.15(16)(a), F.S., the DNA sample for these prosecutions must be available for testing by the accused.

Eight Year Statute of Limitations for Some Sexual Battery Crimes

Another exception in Florida law has carved out an eight-year time limitation on prosecuting a first or second degree felony sexual battery when the victim is 16 years of age or older at the time of the offense and he or she did not report the crime to law enforcement within 72 hours provided the offense was not barred from prosecution on or before July 1, 2015, as provided by Section 775.15(14)(b), F.S.

This article was last updated on Friday, August 16, 2019.

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