Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations in Arizona
Brand new charges have once again brought the alleged sexual misconduct of Bill Cosby to the forefront again. This time, the allegations come from a woman Cosby came in contact with over a decade ago in the state of Pennsylvania. According to the woman, Cosby invited her to his home where he urged her to drink wine and take pills that ultimately rendered her unable to fight off his advances. She alleges that he then committed aggravated indecent assault against her.
Even though this is just one of over 50 different reports of woman who have had similar experiences with the famous comedian, what makes it different is that it is the first time Cosby is being criminally charged. Most of the alleged incidents happened so long ago that they fall outside the statute of limitations, making them impossible to prosecute. This specific incident happened within Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations allowing the district attorney to press charges.
Had the prosecution waited any longer, the statute of limitations would’ve expired and there would be no way to charge Cosby.
Statutes of limitations are put in place to define the time period in which a person can be charged with a crime or sued. They apply to both civil and criminal cases and are different from state to state.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for the crime Cosby is charged with is 12 years. But how would he fair if he were in Arizona?
Believe it or not, if this crime had been committed in Arizona, Cosby would not be facing charges for his crime. Arizona’s statute of limitations for most sexual offenses is 7 years. The only time there is no time limit for prosecution is when there is a case of violent sexual assault, which involves the use of a weapon or serious physical injury. A conviction of a violent sexual assault crime results in a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Because Cosby’s crime took place over 12 years ago, Arizona prosecutors would have no way of charging him criminally if the case had happened here.
Cosby’s attorneys vow that they will mount a “vigorous defense” against these charges and it’s very probable that the statute of limitations will come again in this case.
For those facing sexual assault charges, the statute of limitations can be a very important part of their defense. This is why it is so important to have a criminal defense attorney at your side when facing such serious crimes. An experienced attorney, like Charlie Naegle, is familiar with Arizona law and knows how to use statute of limitations to protect his clients’ rights.
If you have questions about sexual assault charges, call Naegle & Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys today at 480-245-5550.