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Simply being accused of committing a sexual offense can be a tremendously stressful and disorienting experience for an alleged offender. Many alleged sex-related crimes tend to become “he said, she said” cases in which alleged victims and alleged offenders give conflicting accounts of what occurred at the scenes of alleged crimes, and the timing of the alleged victim’s report as well as his or her willingness to assist authorities may impact whether criminal charges are ultimately filed against an alleged offender.
Under state law in Ohio, alleged offenders have a limited amount of time that they can be prosecuted for sexual offenses. It is extremely important for people accused of these crimes to understand that the prosecutors—not the alleged victims—are the only parties with the power to drop criminal charges.
Have you been accused of committing a sexual offense in Central Ohio? Do not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Contact Joslyn Law Firm as soon as possible for help protecting your rights and achieving the most favorable possible outcome to your case.
Brian Joslyn is a skilled criminal defense attorney in Columbus who represents clients in Reynoldsburg, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Whitehall, Worthington, Bexley, Dublin, Gahanna, Grove City, Hilliard, and many surrounding areas in and around Franklin County. Call (614) 444-1900 right now to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, confidential consultation.
The maximum allowable amount of time after an alleged crime has occurred in which prosecution may be commenced is referred to as the statute of limitations. The state of Ohio has different lengths of limitations for different kinds of criminal offenses.
The statute of limitations defines the time limit the prosecution has to file criminal charges, not the time limit that the alleged victim has to report the alleged offenses. Alleged victims typically need to file police reports much sooner in order to give prosecutors time to investigate their claims and gather evidence before deciding whether to file the charges.
Under Ohio Revised Code § 2901.13(A)(3)(a), prosecution for the following sex crimes needs to be commenced within 20 years of the date the alleged offenses were committed:
Under Ohio Revised Code § 2901.13(A)(4), prosecution of the following alleged crimes or conspiracies to commit, attempts to commit, or complicity in committing a violation of either of the following crimes is barred unless it is commenced within 25 years after the offenses were allegedly committed:
Ohio Revised Code § 2901.13(D), however, does establish that if a DNA record made in connection with the criminal investigation of the commission of an alleged rape or sexual battery offense is determined to match another DNA record that is of an identifiable person and if the time of the determination is later than 25 years after the alleged offense is committed, prosecution of that person can be commenced within five years after the determination is complete. If the determination is within 25 years after the offense is committed, then prosecution of that person may be commenced within the longer of 25 years after the offense is committed or five years after the determination is complete.
For all other types of sexual offenses, a prosecutor has six years to prosecute felony offenses, two years to prosecute misdemeanor offenses, and six months to prosecute minor misdemeanors.
After an alleged victim has filed a police report relating to an alleged sexual offense, police will typically investigate the claim and collect evidence. The officer or detective who is handling the case will provide a report to the prosecuting attorney.
The prosecutor has sole discretion in deciding whether or not to file criminal charges. It is not uncommon for many alleged victims to tell alleged offenders after a police report has been filed that they want to “drop the charges,” but only the prosecutor has the power to do this.
The cooperation or lack thereof from alleged victims can certainly impact a prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges, but that aspect alone is not a determining factor. Prosecutors will generally pursue charges when they believe that they have sufficient evidence to obtain convictions in criminal cases.
Ohio Crime Victims' Rights Booklet | Ohio Attorney General — View this publication from the Ohio Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Section that discusses the rights of crime victims. Learn more about possible compensation for economic loss resulting from a crime, protection orders, and the rights of victims relating to victim representatives, notifications, and receiving criminal investigation information. You can also find various answers to frequently asked questions.
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False Allegations of Sexual Assualt: An Analysis of Ten Years of Reported Cases — In this research paper authored by an associate professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts and a program director, a PhD candidate, and a graduate of Northeastern University, the four researchers analyzed 136 cases of sexual assault reported over a 10-year period. Of these cases, eight (5.9 percent) were coded as false reports, 61 (44.9 percent) did not proceed to any prosecution or disciplinary action, 48 (35.3 percent) were referred for prosecution or disciplinary action, and 19 (13.9 percent) contained insufficient information to be coded. Read the entire report to learn more about these four categories and how the researchers designed their coding system.
If you believe that you are being investigated in Central Ohio for any kind of alleged sexual offense, you should refuse to make any kind of statement to authorities until you have legal counsel. Joslyn Law Firm aggressively defends clients in communities throughout Franklin County, Licking County, Madison County, Pickaway County, Union County, Delaware County, and Fairfield County.
Columbus criminal defense attorney Brian Joslyn has been ranked one of the 10 best criminal defense lawyers in Ohio by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys and was selected one of Central Ohio’s “Top Lawyers” by Columbus CEO Magazine. He can provide a full evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation as soon as you call (614) 444-1900 or submit an online contact form today.