In this section, our attorneys explain Nevada’s criminal laws and legal concepts, A to Z
Rape » Statute of Limitations for Rape
Nevada law has no statute of limitations to bring rape (NRS 200.366) charges when either 1) the suspect is identified by DNA evidence, and/or 2) a police report of the alleged rape is filed within 20 years of the incident.
Otherwise, there is a 20-year statute of limitations for sexual assaults that occurred on or after October 1, 2011 in the state of Nevada. If the rape allegedly occurred prior to that date, the time limit to bring criminal charges is four years after the offense.1
Prior to 2015, the period of time prosecutors had to press charges was only four years after the incident. But the Bill Cosby trial as well as other Me Too era cases drew attention to the fact that many victims of sexual offenses do not report the case right after it happens. In some rape cases, victims may wait years or decide never to come forward.2
Since sexual assault is so serious and can have lifelong consequences – such as emotional trauma, STDs, pregnancy – it is fairer to give victims more time to decide whether or not to come forward and press for criminal prosecution.
Some reasons victims in sexual assault cases elect not to report right away include:
People who commit sexual assault crimes are no less guilty 20 years after the incident than four years. By extending the statute of limitations, survivors have more time to process their situation and decide whether to file a police report.
Certainly, sexual assault charges are usually tougher to prove the more time has passed. This is because:
However, the Cosby trial is proof that it may be possible to convict someone on sexual assault charges even if the case is “stale.” (Cosby’s criminal defense attorneys were able to get his conviction overturned on procedural grounds.)3
The crime of sexual assault is a category A felony in Nevada and carries a life sentence. If and when the defendant gets paroled depends on the circumstances of the case.
If the victim is 16 years of age or older and he/she sustained substantial bodily harm, the court may deny parole completely or permit it no sooner than after serving 15 years. If there were no serious injuries, then the defendant can possibly be paroled after 10 years.
If the victim is under 16, the defendant will be denied parole if the victim sustained substantial bodily harm or if the defendant had a prior conviction of rape or a sex offense against a child.
Otherwise, there is the possibility of parole no sooner than after 25 years in prison if the victim is 14 or 15. And if the child is under 14, the possibility of parole occurs after 35 years have been served.
Convicted rapists who get released from prison are required to register as a sex offender in Nevada.4
The Nevada crimes of murder (NRS 200.030) and terrorism (NRS 202.445) have no statute of limitations. Sex trafficking (NRS 201.300) has no statute of limitations if a police report is filed within four (4) years of the alleged trafficking. And rape has no statute of limitations if either:
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.
The back-up of rate kit processing has been much in the news of late. But what exactly is a rape kit? A rape kit – more properly known as a sexual assault evidence kit (SAEK) or sexual assault kit (SAK)– is a container that includes materials and instructions for collecting possible DNA specimens during a ...
Consent is an ineffective defense to rape in Nevada when the victim is too incapacitated to give consent, is forced to give consent, or is under 16 years old. Nevada defines sexual assault (“rape”) as having sexual penetration with another person without his/her consent. Therefore a common defense to rape charges is that the “victim” ...
Under Colorado law, prosecutors generally have 20 years to bring sexual assault (CRS 18-3-402) charges after an alleged rape. If the victim was age 15, 16, or 17 at the time of the offense, this 20-year statute of limitation does not begin running until the victim turns 18. However, Colorado prosecutors can bring rape charges ...
Does Nevada have a "Romeo and Juliet" law?Watch this video on YouTube Yes. Normally the age of consent in Nevada is 16 years old. But under the state’s Romeo & Juliet law, minors age 14 and 15 may have consensual sex with fellow teens less than four years older than them. If the age difference ...