The Washington Supreme Court recently ruled a defendant in a child rape case has the ability to expressly waive the criminal statute of limitations in a pretrial agreement, as long as the clock hasn't yet run out on the underlying charge at the time the defendant enters the agreement.
But why would anyone agree to open themselves up to a criminal conviction that would otherwise be time-barred? The court explains in Washington v. Peltier. Our Tacoma sex crimes defense lawyers believe this case underscores the need for defendants in these serious cases to secure strong legal representation prior to entering a plea agreement with the state.
Let's start by first explaining the theory of the statute of limitations in criminal cases, which is that defendants shouldn't be convicted on the basis of information and testimony that is stale, dated, and therefore likely unreliable. Some crimes have a short statute of limitations lasting just a few years, while others, like murder, have no statute of limitations.