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Navigating the Florida Statute of Limitations: What You Need to Know

Florida Statute of Limitations: Understanding Civil and Criminal Cases

Imagine waiting for years to finally get justice for the wrongs done to you, only to find out that you missed the deadline to file your lawsuit or criminal case. This is the reality for many people who are not aware of the Florida Statute of Limitations, which sets specific time limits for different types of cases.

In this article, we will explore the two main types of legal cases and the relevant deadlines and procedures to ensure that justice is served in a timely manner. I.

Florida Civil Statute of Limitations

Civil actions are lawsuits that involve private disputes between individuals or organizations, such as contract breaches, personal injury, and property damage. To prevent cases from being brought long after the fact, the statute of limitations establishes a deadline for filing a lawsuit.

Failure to file the claim within the specified time frame means that the court will likely dismiss the case. A.

Types of Cases and Procedures with Deadlines

The civil statute of limitations in Florida varies depending on the type of case. Here are some examples and their deadlines:

1.

Personal Injury and Property Damage: Four years from the date the incident occurred. 2.

Medical Malpractice: Two years from the date the incident occurred or two years from the date the incident was discovered, whichever comes later. 3.

Breach of Contract: Five years from the date the breach occurred. It is important to note that there are exceptions to these standard deadlines.

For example, if a minor is involved, the time limit may be suspended until they reach the age of majority. In addition, certain circumstances such as fraud, concealment, or mistake may also extend the deadline.

B. Time Limits and When Time Starts Counting Down

The clock for the statute of limitations starts ticking from the date of the incident or when the incident should have been discovered with reasonable diligence.

For example, if you were involved in a car accident, the date of the accident marks the beginning of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims. However, in cases where the damage was not immediately apparent, such as medical malpractice or toxic exposure, the clock starts ticking when the victim discovers the damage or should have discovered it through due diligence.

It is essential to consult with an attorney to determine the timeline for your specific case. II.

Florida Criminal Statute of Limitations

Criminal cases are those that involve allegations of violations of criminal law, such as murder, robbery, or fraud. These cases are prosecuted by the state, represented by a district attorney or prosecutor, and punished by imprisonment or fines.

A. Crimes Without Deadlines

Certain crimes, known as heinous crimes, such as murder, do not have statutes of limitations.

This means that the prosecution may bring charges against the accused at any time, even years or decades after the crime was committed. Perjury, or lying under oath, also does not have a statute of limitations.

B. Time Limits for Misdemeanors and Lesser Felonies

Misdemeanors are lesser crimes than felonies and are punishable by a maximum of one year in jail.

The statute of limitations for misdemeanors in Florida is generally one year from the date of the offense. However, for certain offenses such as assault, battery, or domestic violence, the statute of limitations is extended to two years.

The statute of limitations for felonies varies depending on the nature of the offense. For example:

1.

First-Degree Felonies: Four years from the date the offense occurred. 2.

Second-Degree Felonies: Three years from the date the offense occurred. 3.

Third-Degree Felonies: Three years from the date the offense occurred. It is important to note that, as with civil cases, there are exceptions to these rules.

For example, if the defendant is out of state or has fled the jurisdiction, the statute of limitations may be tolled. Additionally, if a victim is a minor, the statute of limitations may not begin to run until the victim turns 18.

Conclusion

Understanding the Florida Statute of Limitations is crucial for anyone seeking justice, whether in a civil or criminal case. By knowing the relevant deadlines and procedures, victims can take the necessary steps to pursue their claims and hold wrongdoers accountable.

If you have any questions or concerns about the statute of limitations, do not hesitate to seek the advice of a qualified attorney.

3) Hold on Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a time limit for initiating legal action, after which a case is barred. However, in some cases, the clock can be paused or extended due to exceptional circumstances.

One such exception is the “hold” on the statute of limitations, which applies to alleged criminals who are in hiding or out of state. This article will delve into the details of this exception and its application in Florida.

A. Extension for Alleged Criminals in Hiding or Out of State

The hold on the statute of limitations is designed to prevent alleged criminals from escaping prosecution by moving to another state or going into hiding.

In these cases, the clock on the statute of limitations can be paused or extended to allow law enforcement sufficient time to track down and arrest the suspect. Under Florida law, the statute of limitations can be suspended or “tolled” for any period when the accused is absent from or resides outside the state.

This means that the time limit will not start counting down until the individual returns to or is extradited to Florida. The tolling period extends until the criminal is present in Florida regularly, irrespective of whether they are under arrest or out on bail.

In practical terms, this means that even if the statute of limitations for a crime has expired, if the alleged criminal is found to be in hiding or outside the state, the deadline may be extended. This can provide law enforcement the time they need to identify, locate, and apprehend the suspect, ensuring justice is served.

B. Application of Hold on Statute of Limitations in Florida

The hold on the statute of limitations in Florida applies to both civil and criminal cases.

For instance, if someone has been injured in a car accident and the alleged driver flees the state in an attempt to hide, the hold on the statute of limitations can provide the plaintiff with more time to file their claim. In criminal cases, tolling the statute of limitations can give law enforcement the time needed to apprehend potentially dangerous individuals and bring them to justice.

Furthermore, Florida law also allows the suspension of the statute of limitations in cases where the accused is mentally incompetent or fleeing from prosecution. For example, if someone is accused of robbing a bank but was later found to have a severe cognitive impairment, the statute of limitations would be suspended until they are deemed fit to stand trial.

C. Exceptions to the Hold on Statute of Limitations

The hold on the statute of limitations is not a blanket exception and may not apply in all cases.

There are several exceptions to the tolling of the statute of limitations, including the following:

1. The accused returns to Florida – Suppose the alleged criminal returns to Florida voluntarily or is extradited by another state.

In that case, the statute of limitations will resume from the point at which it was paused, and the clock will pick up from where it left off. 2.

The alleged criminal is still in the state – If the alleged criminal has not left the state, there is no need to initiate the hold on the statute of limitations.

3.

The accused is never caught – The hold on the statute of limitations applies only in cases where law enforcement is making active efforts to locate and apprehend the accused. If the individual remains at large and is never caught, the statute of limitations will eventually expire.

In sum, the hold on the statute of limitations provides law enforcement and victims with a critical tool to ensure that alleged criminals are held accountable, even when they attempt to evade justice by hiding or moving out of state. By suspending or tolling the statute of limitations, Florida law gives authorities the time they need to bring suspects to trial and ensures the timely dispensation of justice.

4) Other Florida Laws

Apart from the statute of limitations, Florida has several other laws that impact legal proceedings. For example, Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that drivers must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage that pays for medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is at fault in a car accident.

Additionally, Florida is a “stand your ground” state. Under the state’s controversial self-defense law, individuals are allowed to use deadly force when they believe their life or the life of another is in danger.

The law has come under scrutiny in recent years, leading to significant changes in its implementation. Furthermore, Florida also has strict gun laws concerning who can own firearms and how they must be carried.

For instance, a person must be at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun and must undergo a background check. The state also prohibits the open carry of firearms, with a few limited exceptions.

Overall, Florida laws impact various aspects of daily life, and it is essential to understand their provisions to avoid complications when dealing with legal issues. Consulting a qualified attorney can help you navigate these laws and ensure that your rights are protected.

In conclusion, understanding the Florida Statute of Limitations is crucial for individuals seeking justice, whether they are pursuing civil or criminal cases. By knowing the relevant deadlines and procedures and taking exceptional circumstances such as the hold on the statute of limitations into account, victims can pursue their claims and hold wrongdoers accountable.

It is important to seek legal advice to navigate Florida’s complex laws and ensure that your rights are protected. Remember that justice is best served swiftly, and any delay in pursuing a case may jeopardize the chances of achieving a satisfactory outcome.

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