Tahlequah Attorney BlogHow Long Do the Feds Have to Charge You With a Crime?

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Video Transcribed: How long do the feds have to charge you with a crime? My name is Ryan Cannonie, I am the Tahlequah criminal defense attorney for Wirth Law Office in Cherokee County. And one thing that’s come up, especially with all this McGirt decision and the tribal reservations is how long can the fed still charge a crime against you if you were charged at state court or if you haven’t been charged at all?

aggravated assault and battery OklahomaWell, the vast majority of federal crimes have a five-year statute of limitations. That means that the feds have to charge you within five years of the crime occurring. So, if this is a crime you were charged… Let’s say, in this situation, you were charged with it in state court in 2014, and now, you’ve been able to get a McGirt motion filed.

You show that you are a Native American. It occurred on one of the new… Or well, not new, but recently rediscovered, I guess, reservations in Eastern Oklahoma. Then, you would be safe from most federal prosecution.

Now, there are certain crimes that are longer than five years. And if you have questions about those, then give us a call. But for the vast majority of your offenses, federally, have to be charged within five years.

Now, where this comes up and where I’ve had a lot of people call about, and I say, “Look, there’s kind of a cost-benefit to this as you assess it,” is if you have an offense. Let’s say you’ve already been convicted of something that happened in, let’s just go 2017, 2018.

Then, your time for federal charges is still going. It’ll go five years from that date that the crime occurred or allegedly occurred. And so, if you file a McGirt motion, there is a possibility the federal government could charge you in federal court.

You’re probably not going to get any credit for any of the time served, or any of the conditions, and most of the stuff you did for that state court offense. So, it’s really a conversation you have to have with an attorney about whether or not you should file a McGirt motion.

Now, I know I’ve done videos talking about that aspect and how you might want to talk to an attorney before you file one. But one thing I don’t think I ever covered in videos was that five-year timeframe.

Now, if you’re in that five-year period, should you wait or should you go ahead and file one, and see, just roll the dice? That’s a decision you’ll have to create yourself after talking with an attorney. There’s new stuff going on with McGirt, pretty much, every single day.

The Oklahoma attorney general, the tribes, the feds are all trying to work some workaround to get around the Supreme Court ruling so that they can, once again, prosecute Native American citizens in state court.

And they can try to, maybe, avert all of these releases that are getting ready to cause… There’s already been a lot of blowbacks if you’ve seen the media. I believe, recently, there was a, it was a DUI manslaughter case that was dismissed. It happened 10 years or so ago.

So, even if the federal government wanted to charge that person, they can’t because that would be one of the five-year offenses. So, it happened more than five years ago. They won’t be able to charge it. Now, when you start looking at your tribal government filing, that’s going to depend on your tribal statutes and whatever their code has.

So, it’s really important that you go talk to an attorney during these matters. You don’t just try to file one yourself. You actually go get some legal advice because sometimes, it’s better to wait and go ahead. And even though your case is something you want to get rid of right now, it might be better to wait on some of these.

And others, it may be a situation where it would be prosecuted as a misdemeanor by the tribes, so let’s go ahead and file it now. There’s a whole conversation that needs to take place there. So, if you have questions about this, please, give us a call. Go to the website, Tahlequahattorney.com, go ahead and send us a web form. We’ll try and get back to you as soon as we can. And hopefully, we can help you out.

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