Criminal sexual conduct is a serious offense and will have a lasting, negative impact upon anyone convicted of one of these charges. In some cases, the law allows a significant amount of time to pass before charges are filed. In other cases, the time is more limited.
What is the statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations is a period after which the state does not allow the filing of criminal charges. So, if a particular crime has a statute of limitations of five years, it must be charged within five years of the date the crime occurred. If it isn’t, it can never be filed.
Criminal sexual conduct of the first degree
The most serious form of this offense, criminal sexual conduct (CSC) of the first degree, includes conduct such as penetration with a child under the age of 13, rape or certain types of conduct involving someone who is mentally incapacitated. First degree CSC has no statute of limitations, which means it can be filed any time, regardless of how much time has passed.
Second, third and fourth degree CSC
Fourth degree CSC, which is the least serious, must be charged within 10 years of the offense or by the time the alleged victim reaches the age of 21, whichever comes later. For second and third degree CSC, they must be charged within 15 years of the offense or by the time the alleged victim turns 28 years old, whichever comes later.
However, there is an exception for some cases involving DNA evidence. When DNA evidence is collected, and at a later date results in identifying an individual, the charge may be filed by the victim’s 28th birthday or within 15 years of the date the identification is made, whichever is later.