A popular American comedian with a wholesome image is in the midst of a scandal following allegations of sexual assault. It all started in 2005, when a woman came forward saying that the TV actor drugged and molested her.
While prosecutors declined to press criminal charges then, the alleged victim filed a civil lawsuit against him. The actor eventually settled the case for an undisclosed amount.
By now, more than a dozen women have accused the actor of sexually assaulting them, although many of the alleged incidents can no longer be charged as a crime in court due to the statute of limitations.
If you are charged with an offense in California, you may be entitled to criminal defenses such as the Statute of Limitations.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
Most criminal charges must be filed within certain time limits. In law, such deadline for a prosecutor to file formal charges against a defendant is also known as the Statute of Limitations. California criminal laws set varying periods for bringing a charge in court, depending on the punishment for it.
If a charge appears to have been filed beyond the Statute of Limitations, the defendant may be able to raise the criminal defense of prescription.
For serious crimes such as murder, embezzlement of public funds, and crimes that are punishable by death or life imprisonment, California penal laws do not prescribe a time limit. A case for any of these crimes may be filed at any time.
For offenses where the penalty is at least 8 years of imprisonment, the Statute of Limitations is 3 years. Charges alleging a misdemeanor must be filed within 1 year.
The Statute of Limitations ordinarily begins on the date that the alleged crime was discovered or should have been discovered.
Allegations of Sexual Abuse When a Minor
While no charges were filed in Los Angeles due to the Statute of Limitations having run, another complainant recently surfaced claiming that the actor molested her when she was only 15. According to California laws, a minor who was the victim of sexual abuse may file a complaint at a later time if the crime causes psychological injuries.
Additionally, the new District Attorney in Pennsylvania has filed charges against the actor there, fulfilling the campaign promise he made while running for his current position.
The actor’s criminal defense attorney reacted to the charge by filing counter allegations against the complainant for knowingly making false statements.
In the metropolitan Los Angeles area, the law firm of David S. Kestenbaum has more than 35 years of experience as prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, protecting the rights of clients through strategies best suited to their situation.
We welcome your call to the Kestenbaum Law Group today at (818) 616-4312 to speak to one of our attorneys about your case.