New sex crime laws to take effect in Florida
A new law takes effect in Florida on July 1 that changes the way law enforcement handles sexual assault claims. According to an orlandosentinel.com report, the so called “43 Days Initiative Act” will allow victims of sexual assault additional time to report a criminal act against them.
The law was passed in 2015, and it increased the statute of limitations for adult rape victims to file claims from four years to eight. For sexual assault cases involving children, no time limit will apply. The law was dedicated to a rape survivor who after receiving counseling, decided to bring criminal charges, only to find out that they were 43 days too late in doing so.
Additionally, a statewide audit found that more than 13,000 rape kits were untested. Because of this, a bill passed into law requiring law enforcement agencies to submit a kit to a state crime lab within 30 days if requested by a sex crime victim, and for crime labs to process kits within 120 days. The law also required police to inform such victims of their rights, as many may not know of them.
Indeed, attitudes towards sexual assault victims are changing as more victims are likely to be believed given how Bill Cosby’s actions have been publicized and the recent events involving the former Stanford swimmer’s light sentence. While we stand as an organization that looks to protect our clients’ constitutional rights in criminal cases, we also understand that sometimes those accused may be victims themselves. As such, the story is a reminder of the importance of having an experienced criminal defense attorney.