Due to the #MeToo movement and revelations about the criminal actions of some public figures, some types of crimes are receiving increased scrutiny. Accusations of sex crimes, such as sexual assault, are becoming more common, and offenders can face significant penalties, including imprisonment and fines. However, in some cases involving sex crimes, the accusations may come years after the crimes allegedly occurred, and the statute of limitations may have passed. The “statute of limitations” is a designated period of time in which an individual can bring legal action against another party. Recently, Illinois became the eighth state to remove the statute of limitations on sex crimes, and those who are facing these types of charges should be sure to understand how this change in the law may affect them.
The new law, which will take effect beginning January 1, 2020, will allow alleged victims to come forward at any time to press charges against alleged abusers, and prosecutors will be able to pursue these charges. The law will remove the statute of limitations on felony sex crimes, including criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Currently, the statute of limitations for sex crimes in Illinois is 10 years, but there is a catch. Prosecutors can bring charges within 10 years of the offense as long as the victim reported the crime to police within three years after it happened. This means an alleged victim who did not come forward before those three years were up could not press charges against his or her abuser. In 2017, the statute of limitations was removed in cases involving sex offenses perpetrated against anyone under the age of 18.
Many officials and lawmakers have said that this change in the law was made in response to the public’s changing attitude toward sex crimes. This shift in perception has been attributed to recent news stories and trends like the #MeToo movement, a social media movement dedicated to encouraging people to talk about their experiences with sexual assault in order to increase public awareness. Through the movement, many alleged victims of sex crimes have begun to come forward to discuss crimes that were sometimes decades old.
Sex crimes are among the most serious crimes a person can be charged with. Even if you are not convicted of these charges, just being accused of a sex crime could ruin your reputation and result in consequences that could follow you for the rest of your life. If you have been accused of this type of crime, you should hire an Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law has more than 25 years of experience helping clients prove their innocence. Contact our office today by calling 847-253-3400. We offer free consultations.
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