When it comes to talk about the so-called statute of limitations, most discussion is centered on personal injury claims and other civil lawsuits. However, the statute of limitations also applies to criminal cases. This means there is a statute of limitations on drug charges in Minnesota. If you’re asking is there a statute of limitations on drug charges in Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota, the short answer is Yes.
The statute of limitations is a law that sets an outer limit on the amount of time it can take to file criminal charges. If the period set out in the statute of limitations expires, the government is forever barred from pursuing that charge against that specific defendant ever again.
While the statute of limitations is rarely at issue in drug crime prosecutions, there are always exceptions. It is valuable to have the guidance of legal counsel that understands not only the statute of limitations but all other potential technical defenses in your case as well. Reach out to a drug charges lawyer of Gerald Miller for more information.
Criminal Statutes of Limitations in Minneapolis and Minnesota
Minnesota statute of limitations vary in each case depending on the specific criminal charge the state has levied against an individual. There are not only different statutes that apply to misdemeanors and felonies, but the time limit to bring felony charges also varies from one offense to another. In high-profile crimes like murder or kidnapping, there is no statute of limitations. The government has an unlimited amount of time to pursue criminal charges against the accused.
Misdemeanor offenses each share a single statutory period: three years. This period begins to run the day the offense occurred. After the three-year window expires, the state is barred from filing criminal charges for that incident. This is the case even if the evidence of guilt is overwhelming.
The same statutory period applies to many felony offenses, including all drug-related crimes. To that end, three years is the standard for most offenses under state law.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations on Drug Charges in Minneapolis MN
If the prosecutor fails to file charges within the three-year window, the state is typically barred from prosecuting you at all. There are some important exceptions to be aware of, however. There are specific circumstances where the statute of limitations could be paused. This is know as tolling the statute of limitations.
For example, the statute of limitations is tolled in certain cases where evidence is waiting to be tested at a crime lab. During that period, the three-year window does not continue to expire. The same is true in cases where the accused has enrolled in a pre-trial diversion program. Otherwise, a defendant could simply quit the program once the statute of limitations expires without consequences.
The Importance of the Minnesota Statute of Limitations
The protections provided by the statute of limitations are important to every criminal defendant. This is because lengthy delays often aid the prosecution and hinder the defense. The prosecution can operate with the knowledge that they intend to bring criminal charges in the future. There would be nothing preventing them from building a strong case and then waiting to file the charges until long after it was possible to adequately prepare a defense.
Unlike the prosecution, the defense will have no insight into when charges might be coming. In fact, many defendants have no idea they are the target of a criminal investigation until their arrest. Lengthy delays could make it impossible to identify the witnesses or track down the evidence needed to mount an adequate defense. The risk of witnesses dying or documentary evidence disappearing over time is too great. For that reason, courts often push back at attempts to bring criminal charges after the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Discuss the Statute of Limitations on Drug Charges with Gerald Miller
The statute of limitations has the potential to be a powerful tool in your defense. In fact, it is only one of the potential defense strategies that could be beneficial to your case.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller could review your case for potential statute of limitations violations. If the government attempts to prosecute after the period has expired, we can aggressively fight back against these charges. To get started with preparing your defense, schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.