Criminal Charges in Indiana: How Long Do Prosecutors Have to File?Jun 19 2020, by Criminal Defense, Legal Blog in
All states, including Indiana, have a criminal statute of limitations. These regulations outline how much time prosecutors have to file criminal charges.
If you’ve been arrested for a crime or are under investigation in Indianapolis, reach out to an experienced Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer at Hessler Law, PC. We can explain your rights, how the statute of limitations affects you, and your next best steps.
Indiana Criminal Statute of Limitations
Generally, the statute of limitations in Indiana for misdemeanors is two years and five years for felonies.
The purpose of these limitations is to ensure that the strongest evidence possible is used. Since evidence like eyewitnesses and lab reports can be lost over time, it’s ideal to file criminal charges and conduct trials as soon as possible after the incident occurred.
Crimes with No Statute of Limitations
In Indiana, there is no statute of limitations for murder. Therefore, a prosecution for murder can begin at any time. The amount of time that has passed since the offense or how much time has passed between the commission of the crime and the victim’s death is irrelevant in murder cases.
In addition, Level 1 felonies and Level 2 felonies in Indiana have no statute of limitations. These are considered more severe than other felonies and misdemeanors in the state. For example, attempted murder is a type of Level 1 felony while voluntary manslaughter is a Level 2.
A Level 1 felony conviction may lead to harsh consequences such as 20 to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The penalties for a Level 2 felony include 10 to 30 years of prison time and charges of up to $10,000.
Should I Wait or Speak with a Lawyer?
If you’ve been arrested or suspect that you will be charged with a crime in Indianapolis, it is best to consult a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t assume the statute of limitations will expire. An experienced attorney can do a lot to improve your situation, even if formal charges have not yet been filed:
- Legal Experience: A criminal case can take a serious toll on your life. You should avoid navigating it alone. Rather than trying to determine what you need to do while facing a criminal charge, opt for assistance from a lawyer who is well-versed in Indiana criminal laws and can guide you through the criminal court process.
- Case Analysis: A criminal lawyer can sit down with you and thoroughly analyze the evidence. This allows you to get honest feedback so you are prepared for the best and worst-case scenarios.
- Dismissing or Reducing Charges: With legal representation, you may be able to get your charges reduced, the case dismissed, or avoid formal charges altogether.
- Evidence Review: Sometimes, prosecutors use illegally obtained evidence to spin the case in their favor. A lawyer can help determine if this is the case and motion to exclude inappropriate evidence. They can also assist in collecting evidence that supports you.
- Reduce Penalties: Criminal convictions have brutal punishments. If you are convicted, a lawyer may be able to reduce the consequences. For instance, they may make it possible for you to avoid jail time by participating in community service.
Contact Hessler Law ASAP
If you have been arrested, charged, or suspect you will be, contact our firm to determine the statute of limitations for your particular case and increase your chances of a positive outcome.