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New Law Ends Statute of Limitations on Sexual AssaultIllinois has amended its criminal code in order to remove the statute of limitations on prosecutors filing sexual assault charges. The law previously required that prosecutors commence sexual assault charges within 10 years of the alleged offense. Now, the law simply states that sexual assault charges may be commenced at any time. Advocates for the new law argue that sexual assault victims may have personal reasons why they wait years to tell authorities about their assault. Illinois made a similar law change in 2017 for sexual assault cases involving minors. Those accused of committing sexual assault should understand that this new law does not change the prosecution’s burden to prove the crime.

Definition and Defenses

Illinois defines criminal sexual assault as any non-consensual sexual contact or penetration with a victim. If the party does not actively rebuke the sexual contact, they may still be unable to consent if they are incapacitated, inebriated, underage, mentally disabled, or facing the threat of violence. A first-time conviction for sexual assault is a class 1 felony, punishable by four to 15 years in prison. Defendants can use several arguments to contest the charge:

  • The sexual assault did not occur or the defendant was not involved;
  • The alleged victim’s testimony is inaccurate or unreliable;
  • The sexual contact was consensual; or
  • The defendant has or had a mental condition that makes them not responsible for their actions.

DNA evidence of sexual intercourse can strengthen the prosecution’s case but may not be the deciding factor. The believability of each side’s story and testimony from witnesses will help a court determine whether it is likely that a sexual assault occurred.

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compensation for personal injuries, Illinois Personal Injury LawyerMost people's lives can get turned upside down by an injury that results from the negligent or intentional actions of another. When this happens, people may struggle to come to terms with their new lives, and even though they need help with the bills that may come with the injuries, they may feel like there is no time to pursue a civil suit for compensation. Unfortunately, leaving the decision to pursue compensation for a future date can lead to losing the right to sue.

A person may lose his or her right to sue another person or entity if the statute of limitation on their injury passes. The statute of limitations is a legal time limit beyond which a person cannot seek compensation for injuries caused. For example, in cases involving local public entities or their employees, a person cannot bring a lawsuit alleging injuries more than one year after the injuries are sustained.

For most negligence claims in Illinois, the injured party has two years in which to bring a lawsuit seeking to recover damages. The two years is generally calculated from the time of the injury, although in some situations, the time can be calculated from the time of a person's discovery of the injury. This is especially true in cases involving medical injuries that may not be discovered for some time. For example, if a doctor leaves a surgical tool inside a patient's body cavity during surgery, the patient may not discover his or her injury for a while. Therefore, the statute of limitations in a case such as this would accrue from the moment the patient finds out or should reasonably have found out about the tool.

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