A bill was passed on April 19, 2019, by the Nevada Assembly which would remove the Statute of Limitations (SOL) for Sexual Assault, if the identity of the person accused of the crime is established by DNA evidence. The bill known as Assembly Bill 142 (AB142) would remove the current 20-year SOL on such cases, and these charges would join homicide charges in having no SOL.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
In civil and criminal cases, the law governing how long allegations can be adjudicated has an end date, after which the court has no further jurisdiction. This is called the statute of limitations which is usually measured in years after the alleged act. The SOL governs the period of time from a cause of action, to when charges must be filed under the law. After that period of time transpires, the court will no longer consider, except under extremely extenuating circumstances, a case under the statute. The SOL protects the defendant in these cases by setting a time limit on actions which can be brought against them. The length of the SOL is usually longer, based on the severity of the offense being charged.
A statute of limitations is placed on laws out of recognition of several factors:
- A prosecutor or plaintiff should pursue a valid cause of action with reasonable diligence
- The possibility of proving the evidence in a case “beyond a reasonable doubt” becomes more difficult with the passage of time due to spoliation of evidence.
- An assumption that litigation of aged claims results in cruelty rather than justice.
Does this passage of AB142 become law?
Two major steps remain before AB142 takes effect: passage by the State Senate, and signature by the Governor. The bill was read into the Senate on April 22, 2019, and it was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee will consider amendments to the bill and vote whether to release the bill to the entire Senate. If the full Senate passes the bill, the Assembly and the Senate will prepare a final bill to be forwarded to the Governor for signature. If the Governor signs the bill it is scheduled to become law July 1, 2019.
This removal of the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault would update this laws SOL, signed into law in 2015, which increased the SOL in such cases from 4 to 20 years.
Charged with a Sexual Assault Crime? Call The Defenders
If you are charged with sexual assault you will need to services of a dedicated and well qualified lawyer to represent you in court. As the law changes, the lawyers of The Defenders are right up to date to give you the legal advice you need and to protect your rights in court. Call our office today to discuss your potential case at (702) 333-3333.