Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in Nevada
Sexual assault is a heinous crime that can have long-lasting effects on victims. Unfortunately, many victims do not report the abuse right away, or even at all. The reluctance to come forward can be attributed to several causes, such as the apprehension of being disregarded or feeling that their story won’t be given due consideration.
Some also have fear of repercussions or of being re-victimized by the legal system. Additionally, some victims may not realize they’ve been assaulted until much later. As such, it is important to understand the statute of limitations for sexual assault in Nevada so that victims can seek justice if they choose to.
Important Definitions You Need to know
What Is Sexual Assault in Nevada
Sexual assault, commonly referred to as rape, is a heinous crime that occurs when someone has penetrative sex without the other person’s consent.
In the state of Nevada, sexual assault is deemed one of the gravest offenses that can be committed – second only to murder.
Consent is defined as a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is important that both parties agree to the activity and that it is done without any force or coercion.
Lack of consent, in this case, means the victim did not give permission or was unable to give permission. This can be due to physical force, threats of harm, the victim being in an unconscious state or impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the legal time frame within which a victim can file criminal charges against the perpetrator.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in Nevada
In general, the statute of limitations for sexual assault or rape is 20 years from when the offense was committed. But if the victim reports it to law enforcement (files a police report) within 20 years, then there is no time limit.
For example, Sarah was sexually assaulted in January 2019. According to current Nevada law, if she does nothing else, she can press charges only before January 2039 ends.
However, if Sarah files a police report in August 2022, then the statute of limitations of 20 years will not apply, and she can press charges against her assailant whenever she chooses.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
As of 2019, if the identity of the person accused of the crime is established by DNA evidence, then there is also no time limit for prosecutors to bring sexual assault charges. This is due to a Assembly Bill 142 (AB 142).
Getting Help for Sexual Assault in Nevada
If you or someone you know has been charged with sex crimes, or if you have been the victim of sexual assault, it is important to seek help right away. The knowledgeable attorneys at The Defenders are committed to helping victims get justice and will work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We understand that this can be an incredibly difficult time and we are here to help. With our experienced legal team on your side, you can be sure that your case will receive the attention it deserves. Don’t hesitate—call us today and let us fight for justice on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do statutes of limitations exist?
Statutes of limitations exist to ensure that both the prosecution and defense can make their case on the evidence available. Over time, memories fade, witnesses become unavailable, and evidence gets lost or destroyed. Fortunately, advancements in technology allowed for the capturing of more reliable evidence, such as DNA testing. Photos, videos, and voice recordings are all potential repositories of evidence that can be used to prosecute a perpetrator even after the statute of limitations has expired.
Can victims still pursue legal action if they don’t file a police report?
Yes, victims can still seek justice even if they do not file a police report. However, the statutes of limitations may apply so it is important to understand them before making any decisions.
How Can Victims File a Report After the Statute of Limitations Has Expired?
Victims who choose to report after the statute of limitations has expired may still be able to seek legal action through civil court. In a civil suit, the victim can file a case against the perpetrator regarding damages that were incurred as a result of the crime. This includes physical and emotional distress, lost wages, medical bills, and other related costs.
What Are Some Common Myths About Sexual Assault and the Statute of Limitations?
One common myth is that a person cannot be charged after the statute of limitations has expired. Again, this is false – as long as the identity of the accused is established by DNA evidence, there are no time limits for filing sexual assault charges. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, it’s important to contact a lawyer like The Defenders to discuss the legal options that may be available.