April 30, 2014 By Paul Wallin

What is the Statute of Limitations for Federal Crimes?

If you were arrested for a crime, you were most likely detained by a police officer and charged under California law. However, if you were arrested by a federal law enforcement agency (like the F.B.I.) or committed a crime that violates federal statute, you could be charged under federal law.

 statute of limitations for federal crimes
The statute of limitations for federal crimes differs depending on the crime committed.

It is possible to be charged for the same crime under state law and federal law. If the charges against you are dismissed at state level, you could still be facing federal charges, and vice versa. The penalties upon conviction for a federal crime are often much harsher than the penalties upon a conviction at state level.

Like state crimes, federal crimes have a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a time limit where charges must be filed against a person suspected of a crime within a certain amount of time from the date the alleged crime occurred. This can protect people from being harassed and having to constantly defend themselves from old charges. Evidence may have also deteriorated or may no longer be available as time goes on.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Federal Crimes?

Under United States Code 18 Section 3282, the statute of limitations for most federal crimes is five years. However, the statute of limitations may be longer or may not exist for certain crimes. The statute of limitations can also be extended in certain circumstances, including cases where the accused is a fugitive, DNA evidence is required of the accused, or time is needed to secure foreign evidence overseas.

In Which Cases is the Statute of Limitations Longer than Others?

The federal statute of limitations can be longer than five years for certain crimes, including:

  • Federal tax evasion (U.S. Code 26 Section 7201) – 6 years
  • Failure to file a tax return with the I.R.S. (U.S. Code 26 Section 7203) – 6 years
  • Major fraud involving at least $1 million against the federal government (U.S. Code 18 Section 1031) – 7 years
  • Non-violent violations of federal terrorism laws (U.S. Code 18 Section 3286(a)) – 8 years
  • Arson (U.S. Code 18 Section 3295) – 10 years
  • Embezzling funds from a federal financial institution (U.S. Code 18 Section 657) – 10 years
  • Using false or fraudulent citizenship papers (U.S. Code 18 Section 1423) – 10 years
  • Theft of major artwork (U.S. Code 18 Section 3294) – 20 years

Which Cases Do Not Have a Statute of Limitations?

There is no federal statute of limitations for certain crimes. A person can be charged at any time for the following:

  • Federal crimes punishable by death (U.S. Code 18 Section 3281)
  • Terrorism crimes that resulted in death or serious bodily injury (U.S. Code 18 Section 3286)
  • Sex crimes with a minor (U.S. Code 18 Section 3283)

Call Wallin & Klarich Today

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Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to help you.

If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge at the federal level, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 40 years of experience in handling federal offenses in Southern California. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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