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NRS 171.083 - Is there a statute of limitations for sexual assault or sex trafficking in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jul 02, 2019 | 0 Comments

Under NRS 171.083, there is no statute of limitations to press criminal charges if the victim file a police report within twenty (20) years of the alleged rape or four (4) years of the alleged sex trafficking.

In addition, the statute of limitations -- which is the legal term for the time limit prosecutors have to bring criminal charges -- stops running in sex assault and sex trafficking cases while the victim is either:

  • insane,
  • intellectually disabled,
  • mentally incompetent, or
  • in a medically comatose or vegetative state

Sexual assault

Ordinarily, there is a 20-year statute of limitations for the Nevada crime of sexual assault (NRS 200.366). This means that prosecutors may not bring charges against a rape suspect once 20 years have passed from the alleged rape.

But under NRS 171.083, prosecutors may press charges even after 20 years have passed as long as the victim (or victim's representative) filed a police report within 20 years of the alleged rape.

(Now that Nevada Assembly Bill 142 (2019) passed, there is also no time limit to bring sexual assault charges if the accused's identity is established by DNA evidence.)

Definition & penalties

Sexual assault (a.k.a. rape) is when one person forces sexual penetration on another without that person's consent. Sexual assault is always a category A felony carrying a life sentence in Nevada State Prison and sex offender registration.

There is no possibility of parole if the victim was under 16 and the defendant had prior convictions of rape or a child sex offense. Otherwise, the defendant may be released on parole depending on:

  1. the victim's age;
  2. if the victim experienced substantial bodily harm; and
  3. the defendant's criminal history

Nevada rape victim age

Punishment

16 or older

  • Life in prison with no possibility of parole; or
  • Life in prison with possible parole after 15 years; or
  • Life in prison with possible parole after 10 years (if the victim sustains no serious injury)

Under 16, and the defendant has no prior conviction(s) of sexual assault or a sexual offense against a child

  • Life with no possibility of parole (if the child sustains serious injury); or
  • Life in prison with possible parole after 25 years (if the child is aged 14 or 15 and sustains no serious injury); or
  • Life in prison with possible parole after 35 years (if the child is under 14 and sustains no serious injury)

Sex trafficking

Ordinarily, there is a four-year statute of limitations for the Nevada crime of sex trafficking (NRS 201.300). This means that prosecutors may not bring charges against a rape suspect once four years have passed from the alleged rape. 

But under NRS 171.083, prosecutors may press charges even after four years have passed as long as the victim (or victim's representative) filed a police report within four years of the alleged rape.

Definition & penalties

Sex trafficking is knowingly inducing or forcing a person to be a prostitute. Note that this is different from human trafficking, which is transporting a human being into Nevada for financial gain or illegal purposes.

A sex trafficking conviction requires the defendant to register as a sex offender. And the judge may always order restitution to cover the victims':

  • medical and psychological treatment;
  • transportation, temporary housing, relocation, repatriation, and/or childcare; and/or
  • lost or damaged property

Otherwise, the penalties turn on the age of the victim. Sex trafficking an adult (18 or older) is a category B felony. The sentence is:

  • 3 to 10 years in prison, and
  • up to $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Sex trafficking a child (under 18) is always a category A felony carrying possible life in prison:

  • If the child is 16 or 17, the defendant may be paroled after 5 years. The judge may also impose a fine of up to $10,000.
  • If the child is 14 or 15, the defendant may be paroled after 10 years. The judge may also impose a fine of up to $10,000.
  • If the child is 13 or younger, the defendant may be paroled after 15 years. The judge may also impose a fine of up to $20,000.

Judges may impose an additional fine of up to half a million dollars in either or both of the following circumstances:

  • The defendant applied physical force or violence (or the threat of it) on the child, and/or
  • The defendant conspired to commit sex trafficking of a child

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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