27 Feb The statute of Limitations for Pressing Charges against Domestic Violence
Holding someone responsible for domestic violence is possible in two cases-civil and criminal. While filing a lawsuit against the perpetrator is everyone’s right, however, this right must be used within a certain time limit; every state has different laws regarding the statute of limitations in domestic violence cases.
Types of Actions in Domestic Violence:
Regardless of the nature of the domestic violence, there are two types of actions- the victim contacts the police or attorney to file a criminal case against the perpetrator. This step should be taken immediately in order to file a report with delaying as well as to let the law enforcement entities know about the incident and believe the victim. This usually does not require a timeframe.
The second type of action is to pursue the case through the civil courts. This step has a specific statute of limitations if a person wants to seek legal action against the offender, according to the state laws. The victim does not receive remedies if the given time limit has exceeded apart from special exceptions. This action can also take years before any compensation is made. In addition to this, the process is very difficult and complicated. In this situation, the plaintiff should seek the assistance of a family lawyer.
Pressing Charges against Criminal Cases:
A victim does not press charges against the perpetrator of domestic violence when he or she files the case in a criminal court. In many situations, despite the victim asks to drop the charges the prosecutor does not do so. Even if the victim decides to revoke the statement, depending on the willingness of the prosecution and the evidence, the revoke does not affect the status of the case.
The statute of Limitations:
In civil cases, the statute of limitations in domestic violence charges vary from one year up to six years, given the specific state laws where the case is filed. In addition to this, the statute of limitations in criminal charges also depend upon the nature of the crime- misdemeanor or felony. Crimes of misdemeanor or felonies highly affect the case; the relevant state laws also determine the statute of limitations of criminal charges. This time frame can vary from one year to three years.
Pursuing a Lawsuit against Domestic Violence:
The victim of domestic violence will need to decide, whether the case should be pursued under criminal charges through a lawyer, or file a civil case which has monetary compensation available for the damages. There are multiple factors that affect this decision such as revoking charges later, or there are bills- hospital expenses, or being unable to work due to injuries- need to be paid unless there is an availability of additional money. Once a police report is filed that means the beginning of the criminal charges.
Options such as civil remedies or different types of orders are available. In case of a restraining order, the victim may be protected from the aggressor. When there are children and/or marriage is involved, the victim can seek emergency custody, and the perpetrator is removed from the situation until the victim decides a certain plan of action.
Legal Assistance in Domestic Violence:
When the plaintiff decides to file a civil case, he or she should hire a family attorney as soon as possible ensuring the statute of limitation does not lapse. The lawyer guides and explains the plaintiff throughout the process.