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What Is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in Wisconsin?

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The statute of limitations establishes a deadline for when the prosecution of a crime must begin. For example, under Wisconsin law, prosecution of a felony must start within six years of the crime. However, certain crimes have different statutes of limitations. Sexual assault, for example, has a range of statutes of limitation depending on the nature of the offense. 

If you face sexual assault charges, you don’t have to face the legal process alone. At Maciolek Law Group, our attorneys have experience with sexual assault cases and can help you navigate the Wisconsin criminal justice system. We will build a strong defense on your behalf and fight for the most favorable outcome possible.  

What Are the Specific Statutes of Limitation for Sexual Assaults?

In Wisconsin, sexual assault cases have different statutes of limitation based on the facts and circumstances of the assault. For example, a sexual assault in the first degree is not subject to a statute of limitations, meaning that the matter can be prosecuted regardless of how long it’s been since the assault occurred. However, actions related to second- and third-degree sexual assault must be commenced within 10 years.

The statutes of limitation for sexual assaults involving children are specific and vary widely. Some examples include:

  • No Statute of Limitations First-degree sexual assault of a child, repeated acts of sexual assault of the same child
  • Victim Reaches Age 45 Second-degree sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, incest with a child, soliciting a child for prostitution, trafficking of a child (among other offenses)
  • Six Years Causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity, sexual exploitation by a therapist, adult exposing genital or pubic area
  • Three Years Sexual intercourse with a child 16 or over, underage sexual activity, minor exposing genitals or pubic area

When Does the Statute of Limitations Start to Run?

The timeline set by the statute of limitations usually begins when the offense occurs. Accordingly, the prosecutor must file their case before the deadline set by the specific statute of limitations expires. Certain circumstances may temporarily stop or “toll” the time frame set by the statute, such as when the defendant is not residing in Wisconsin.

For criminal defendants, the statute of limitations can have a significant effect on your case. If the prosecution files charges after the deadline expired, the case cannot proceed against you. As such, it is critical to consult with an attorney when facing such charges to ensure you have asserted all available defenses, including concerning the statute of limitations. 

Contact a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with sexual assault in Wisconsin, you may not know where to turn. You do not have to bear the burden of criminal charges alone. Let an experienced criminal defense attorney at Maciolek Law Group assist you in all aspects of your criminal law case. We have a well-earned reputation for securing positive outcomes for our clients. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

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