criminal defense attorneys in Philadelphia

What is the Statue of Limitations for a Felony Charge in Philadelphia, PA?

If you have been questioned by police or believe you are the subject of a criminal investigation, you may be living in fear of being arrested for a crime. You should consult the top criminal lawyers in Philadelphia. This will allow you to know what to expect and what is to come.

In some situations, you may never be formally charged with a crime if the statute of limitations has passed since the date of the alleged criminal act occurred. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations varies for different criminal offenses. Pennsylvania has several classifications for felonies and a different time limit set for each criminal offense.

In Pennsylvania, there is no statute of limitations for serious felonies such as murder, soliciting to commit murder, conspiracy to murder, manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, 1st and 2nd-degree murder, vehicular homicide, treason, arson, or forgery.

For felonies related to conspiracy or solicitation to commit a criminal offense, the statute of limitations is 5 years.

For breach of fiduciary duty or fraud, the statute of limitations is 2 years.

Official misconduct, which is when a public official violates his or her duty to act on behalf of the public, has a time limit of 8 years.

For sexual offenses involving a minor, there is a limited period to prosecute once the minor reaches age 18.

The statute of limitations for sexual offenses involving adults is 12 years. This means, if the alleged incident happened 12 years ago, the defendant cannot be prosecuted for it.

The purpose of having a statute of limitation laws is to ensure that criminal prosecution doesn’t rely on evidence that has deteriorated over time. Both testimonial evidence (like eyewitnesses and memory) and physical evidence (like blood and fingerprints) can be lost or can deteriorate with time. Therefore, in criminal cases, timing is of the essence.

Pennsylvania law requires that alleged felonies remain in the state and visible to authorities. This is so the criminal remains available for prosecution while the statute of limitations clock is running.

Once charged, the court will either issue a summons in the mail for you to appear or a warrant for your arrest will be issued. Pennsylvania lawmakers can alter the statute of limitation laws at any time. If you fear you may be charged with a felony, be sure to consult a criminal defense lawyer.