Logo Advokátní kancelář roku 2023

Statute of limitations on the offence

In the case of criminal offences, we may encounter a situation where the offender’s conduct fulfils all the elements that the law presupposes for the offence in question, and yet the offence is not or cannot be punished in any way because too much time has elapsed since its commission. We are talking about the statute of limitations on prosecution.

hacker páchá trestný čin, promlčení trestného činu
6 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

The main reason why the statute of limitations is approached is that it is appropriate in terms of the effect of the sentence to impose it as soon as possible after the commission of the offence. Only then can punishment fulfil its preventive and educational role. Delayed punishment is of much less significance both for society and for the offender himself. This is compounded by the difficulty of proving the facts in cases involving years. However, it is important to distinguish how serious the offence was. Surely one cannot ‘pardon’ shoplifting and grievous bodily harm at the same time.

Do you need representation in court?

Legal proceedings can be successful if they are carefully prepared legally. Therefore, do not leave anything to chance and use the services of a lawyer. We will conduct a careful analysis of the case and take care of the preparation of the lawsuit and representation in court, where we will vigorously enforce your rights.

Length of the limitation period

The individual offences therefore have penalties set according to their severity and different statutes of limitation. And different statutes of limitation apply even to the same offence. Thus, we cannot speak generally of a “statute of limitations for murder”. In the present case, it would be necessary to distinguish whether, for example, the murder of a pregnant woman was a crime for which the law allows the imposition of an exceptional penalty and the limitation period would thus be thirty years. If there is no similar serious circumstance (and the offence is therefore a crime with a limit of at least ten years), then the limitation period is fifteen years. The law further provides for a limitation period of ten, five and three years for various offences depending on their gravity.

Tip: We have discussed the different types of punishment in detail in a separate article.

Running of the limitation period

Thestatute of limitations generally begins to run from the time of the commission of the offence. Criminal law theory distinguishes certain specific cases, such as continuing offences, in which case the running of the period would only start from the end of the activity in question. For example, in the case of embezzlement, where each month the sales clerk would “adjust” the sales in the store, the statute of limitations would not run from the first such event, but rather from the last. Even if such activity lasted for many years, it would be viewed as a whole, both in terms of punishment and in terms of the statute of limitations. Similarly, the statute of limitations would apply to a continuing offence where the unlawful condition (for example, restraint of liberty) continues. Here, too, it is not when the restriction of liberty occurred that is relevant to the commencement of the limitation period, but rather how long and until when it lasted. Furthermore, we can encounter offences where the effect that has occurred is decisive in terms of punishment. For the crime of murder, in theory, a physical attack on another person on a particular day may occur. However, if the person does not succumb to his injuries until several days later, it is that moment that will be decisive for us.

Thelimitation period is interrupted if one of the reasons listed in the law occurs, which are, for example, the initiation of prosecution or taking into custody. The interruption also occurs when the offender commits any other offence for which the Criminal Code provides for the same or a more severe penalty.

Tip An interruption of the limitation period means that the limitation period that has been counted so far loses its meaning and a new limitation period starts to run.

It is necessary to distinguish from the above the so-called limitation period, where a situation arises in which a certain period of time is not included in the limitation period, however, the time that has elapsed so far remains valid and is added after the removal of the obstacle in question. This is the case, for example, where the offender cannot be brought to trial at the time because of diplomatic immunity or serious illness. Other similar grounds are provided for in the Criminal Law and the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Limitation periods for individual offences

Other offences also have different limitation periods depending on the seriousness of the particular offence. For example, the statute of limitations for the crime of tax evasion may be five, ten or even 15 years, depending on the amount of damage caused and the level of punishment imposed. In a situation where a taxpayer evades tax over several tax periods, the elements of a continuing offence may be fulfilled.

In the case of the offence of fraud, the limitation period is derived according to the damage caused (and the amount of the threatened penalty) as follows:

  • Damage not insignificant (more than CZK 5,000), penalty up to 2 years, limitation period 3 years
  • Repeated fraud with damage not insignificant, penalty up to 3 years, limitation period 5 years
  • Greater damage (50-500 thousand crowns), penalty up to 5 years, limitation period 10 years
  • Significant damage (0.5 – 5 million crowns), penalty up to 8 years, limitation period 10 years
  • Damage of large scale (5 million crowns and more), penalty up to 10 years, limitation period 15 years

Exceptions to the statute of limitations

The statute of limitations applies to all criminal offences except those specifically listed in the Criminal Code. These include, for example, the crime of treason, terrorist attack, genocide or attack against humanity. In terms of the values protected by the Criminal Code, these are the most serious crimes.

Tip: We have discussed how the different crimes are divided and what characterises them in a separate article.

As with misdemeanors, there are two types of statute of limitations in criminal law: the statute of limitations on criminal liability, which is described above, and the statute of limitations on the enforcement of a sentence, which occurs more rarely. In the case of the statute of limitations on the enforcement of a sentence, this is a situation in which criminal proceedings have taken place but the sentence has not been enforced for some reason. In such a case, the sentence imposed will no longer be executed if five, ten, twenty or thirty years have elapsed, depending on the length of the sentence.

Are you solving a similar problem?

Dostupný advokát team of online lawyers will solve it for you.

Lawsuit and representation in court

Need help with filing a lawsuit or representing yourself in court? Whether the litigation is just beginning or the case is well underway, we can help you with everything. We will conduct a thorough analysis, assess your realistic chances and suggest a course of action. All this within 48 hours of ordering our services.

Preset Prices
All services pre-priced for no surprises.
We Do Everything Online
Save time, money and the hassle of travel.
We Work Fast
90 % of issues get solved by the following day.
Experienced Team
We have specialists for every field of law.

Has this content helped you? Give it a rating

No rating yet. Be first to rate and help others.

Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

Reviews of the Dostupný advokát service

Recenze služby

Zuzana Marková, Prague

before 3 years

We had terms and conditions drafted for our gym, and now we are very glad that we did so. Clear relationship rules are the basis for lasting friendships, and never more so than in the business world!

Recenze služby

Jan Sekanina, Prague

before 3 years

My grandparents wanted to give me an apartment, but I was extremely busy at the time and couldn’t afford to put any time into finding out what I needed to do. I also had no idea how to get the transfer of ownership handled at the Land Registry. Dostupný advokát arranged everything for me, and (zobrazit více) the apartment transfer was legally arranged with no issues. Thank you and thumbs up!

Recenze služby

Tomáš Hrdlička, Nové Strašecí

before 3 years

I felt very uncomfortable meeting an attorney in person. But Dostupný advokát managed to solve everything for me online. I bought a consultation because my employer had sent me for a long term business trip to an exotic country with no explanation, and I wanted to be sure what my rights in this situation were. (zobrazit více) The Skype consultation was very pleasant and the service was fast. I can fully recommend them.

View All Testimonials

You could also be interested in

About us in public media
Logo Česká advokátní komora Logo Advokátní kancelář roku 2023
Follow the news
Facebook Dostupný advokát Twitter / X Dostupný advokát