Illinois residents may be interested in the effect that House Bill 2135, which lawmakers passed over the spring of 2019, will have on the statute of limitations for sexual assault crimes in that state. Removing the statute of limitations may allow prosecutors to prosecute sexual assaults that took place years into the past.
Lawmakers and those involved with crafting the law feel that this sends a clear message showing just how serious the state views sexual assault. Prior to this law, victims had three years to report their attack the law enforcement. Prosecutors had 10 years to file charges against the alleged offender.
House Bill 2135 will remove those limitations, allowing survivors to come forward many years after the attack. This law will apply to aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse that has been committed against an adult. Another state law passed years ago that removed the statute of limitation for sexual assault crimes against children.
Survivors of sexual assault are not always mentally or emotionally ready to come forward with their attack. Getting rid of the statute of limitations puts power into the hands of the victims by allowing them to seek justice in their own time frame and not feel forced to do so within a time frame set by the law.
Since the law went into effect Jan. 1, 2020, any sexual assault crime that could have been prosecuted as of Jan. 1, 2020 will no longer have a statute of limitations. However, crimes where the statute of limitations has already expired will not be affected.
When a person is charged with a sex offense, they may need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. The ability to access a criminal defense attorney is a key part of the United States legal system. Criminal defense attorneys are not solely for the guilty, nor are they solely for the innocent. Their job is to defend their client and create a reasonable doubt as to whether their client committed the crime they are accused of.