Is There a Statute of Limitations for Certain Criminal Offences in Canada?

 Canada has a Criminal Code that outlines all criminal offences that are punishable under law. The Criminal Code also includes provisions for the prosecution of these offences. There is no statute of limitations in Canada on certain severe crimes like murder, treason, or terrorism.

For other more minor crimes, the time limit to prosecute offences is set by legislation. An interesting fact is, can range from one year to ten years, depending on the crime committed. It would be best if you spoke with legal counsel before taking any particular situation.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a deadline for filing charges. Theft, attempted murder, and sexual assault have no time limits. You can only be prosecuted for these offences if convicted or found guilty.

It is a law that sets the time limit for initiating legal proceedings. The time limit for prosecution varies from one offence to another and can be as little as one year or up to ten years or more. Some offences don’t have any limitation period, which means they can always be prosecuted.

Law enforcement and courts are free to file charges against a perpetrator. In Canada, for instance, murder is a serious offence without any limited status. Some years later, even if the crime took place by someone, a suspect may be charged.

Suspects found guilty or coerced can have their limitation period suspended or extended.

Types of Offences That Have Statutes of Limitations in Canada

The statute of limitations can defeat many criminal offences. But, only some of them are considering felony offences. And they have different time limits for starting a prosecution.

1.    Robbery

If someone committed a robbery and the period had elapsed since it happened. it is challenging to prosecute this person under section 334 of the Criminal Code Act. The limitation period in Canada for robbery is 10 years.

2.    Personal Injury

The statute of limitations applies to personal injury claims in Canada, with some exceptions. However, the primary limitation period for a personal injury claim is 4 years from the date the incident occurs

3.    Property Damages

Property damage caused by a faulty product or premises can have limits. So, the four-year limit usually applies to the two classes of property damage claims:

(i)claims for property damages that result from an accident

(ii)claims to arise out of defective products and services.

4.    The Case of Defrauding

If one has given the money to a trust and another misuses it. Then there will be no statute of limitations on this.

Criminal Offences That Have No Limitations

The criminal will remain in prison until death. Yet, in some circumstances, the statute of limitations applies. Here are some examples to help you clarify. These are:

1.    The Cases of Properties

The case which will give the property to one party and deprive another has no statute of limitations.

2.    Harming National Security

The case which harms the national security of the country will not fall into the statute of limitations.

3.    Murder

Because it is punishable by death or life imprisonment, the killer cannot escape from that.

4.    Theft

There is no limitation for theft. You can get prosecution anytime you want against this crime. The absence of any limitation period for theft means that the statute of limitations will not apply to stolen property cases.

5.    Drug Trafficking

It is a case of smuggling drugs in the country and selling them, but that period has no statute of limitations.

When Should You Hire a Lawyer to Look After the Matter?

You will need the services of a lawyer if you are being charged with a crime. There could be some delay in your decision to hire one because you may think it is too early since the police have not yet spoken to you. Or if they have, they haven’t laid charges against you.

But when speaking about legal matters and especially when it comes to criminal charges, you need to understand that time is of the essence. If you delay hiring a lawyer until the police have laid charges against you. It could be a costly and aggravating situation.

Final Words

The statute of limitations for criminal offences in Canada varies depending on the type of crime and other factors. Our knowledgeable staff is available 24/7. So, give us a call anytime if you need help understanding this process or deciding what’s best for your situation.

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