Being accused of sexual assault or another sex crime can derail your life and limit your future. Unfortunately, these accusations often grow legs and start torpedoing everything in their path before they’ve been proven or backed up with evidence.

So what does this mean if you are accused of sexual assault years after the alleged incident took place? Even if a sexual assault claim is made years after the fact, it’s critical to take these accusations seriously and immediately contact a sexual assault attorney. Call Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 to explore your options in a free and confidential consult.

Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations: Civil vs Criminal

First, it’s important to note that there are differences in statutes of limitations between civil suits and criminal cases. Pennsylvania law recently changed to allow child victims of sex crimes to seek compensation from an abuser far outside the original statute of limitations. In most circumstances, a child sexual assault victim has until age 30 to bring a civil suit against all liable parties.

For adults, the individual has two years to file a civil suit against the offender.

Criminal Statute of Limitations

If an alleged sexual crime is reported to the police, the criminal statute of limitations is applicable. However, the statute of limitations depends on the crime and who was victimized.

If the victim of rape, sexual assault, or sex trafficking was younger than 18 at the time of the crime, there is no statute of limitations. This allows a victim to seek justice even if the crime occurred decades before. If a child is the victim of sexual abuse, the statute of limitation is 12 years from the date of the crime.

Adult victims have a much shorter statute of limitations than child victims. An adult victim of rape or sexual assault has 12 years from the date of the crime to report it. If an adult is the victim of sex trafficking, they have 10 years from the most recent offense to report it.

What This Means for The Accused

This law does put those accused of sex crimes at a disadvantage, as it aims to give victims more time to come forward. If you have been falsely accused, though, this can cause unnecessary stress and worry.

Remember, though, that any criminal case is based on evidence. If someone alleges that you assaulted them seven years prior, they must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. If you believe you engaged in consensual sex for instance, it’s unlikely that there will be enough evidence.

Why You Need an Attorney

Many who are accused of sexual assault believe that they don’t need an attorney if the accusations are false. However, truth does not always work as a defense.

If the prosecution can paint a convincing story for a jury, you could easily end up serving time for a crime you did not commit. Hiring an attorney is not the act of a guilty individual; it is the act of an individual who wants to protect their rights and ensure that justice is fairly served.

Call Us If You’ve Been Accused of a Sex Crime

The sooner you call an attorney after a sex crime accusation, the sooner they can begin protecting you against unfair and unproven claims. Attorney Michael Skinner is an experienced sex crimes lawyer with a long history of resolving these cases favorably. Take the first step to dealing with your case the right way and reach out to Skinner Law Firm online or at (610) 436-1410.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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