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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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What’s the Statute of Limitations for Illinois Sex Crimes?

When someone is charged with a crime in Illinois, it’s important that they are aware of the statute of limitations on that type of crime. Why? Because the statute of limitations determines whether or not they can still be charged and face consequences for the alleged act. If the statute of limitations has passed, no charges can occur.

Until recently, this is how sex crime charges worked in our state. Each sex crime had a different statute of limitations, which made understanding the law incredibly complex. 

Not anymore.

The law changed in 2017, and now there is no statute of limitations for any sex crime in our state. This means that regardless of how much time has passed since the alleged offense was committed, an individual can still face criminal charges. 

How Does the New IL Law Impact Acts That Occurred Before It Was Enacted?

Prior to 2017, each sex crime in our state had a different statute of limitations, meaning for some crimes the individual would not be able to face charges if too much time had passed.

As you might imagine, it was incredibly confusing. However, things are still quite complicated today for crimes that occurred before 2017, because changing the law does not retroactively remove the statute of limitations from those offenses.

For sex crimes against adults, the question is whether the act took place before or after the law went into effect. If it occurred before the law was in place, the old rules apply.

How Does the New IL Law Impact Acts That Occurred Before It Was Enacted?

Sex crimes against children are handled a bit differently. There, the question becomes whether or not the survivor was under 19 as of January 1, 2000. Those 19 or older who were the victim of sex crimes will likely not have those crimes prosecuted. There are other complicating issues and exceptions as well.

Things should be far less complicated going forward, though – any sex crime taking place after the law went into effect is viable essentially forever. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at the kinds of charges and penalties that come with sex crimes in our state.

Penalties Associated with Illinois Sex Crime Charges

Generally speaking, the penalties for a sex crime depend on its severity and whether or not it is classified as a misdemeanor or felony.

Misdemeanor sex crimes often carry a sentence of up to one year in jail, while felony sex crimes such as criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual abuse can result in sentences of four to 15 years in prison. Sentences may be increased if the offender has previous convictions or if the victim was under 18 years old.

Additionally, some sex offenses include mandatory sex offender registration. Registration involves providing personal information to law enforcement and notifying them if one moves or changes any other details provided, but that description hides how damaging being on the Registry truly is.

What You Should Do If You Are Charged with an Illinois Sex Crime

If you have been charged with a sex crime, it’s important to seek experienced legal counsel right away. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your case and provide you with the best advice on how to proceed. 

It is also important to remember that being charged with a sex crime does not mean you will be convicted, so it’s important to stay positive and take steps toward securing an exoneration or reduced sentence.

What You Should Do If You Are Charged with an Illinois Sex Crime

Know your rights and the law when it comes to sex crimes. These types of charges tend to come with a huge stigma, and you can be sure that the prosecutor on your case will attempt to paint you in the most negative way possible.

The way you fight back is with a strong defense crafted by an experienced, knowledgeable Chicago criminal lawyer. With these kinds of charges, your life is on the line. Make sure you are trusting it to the right person.

 

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

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