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What are the statutes of limitation for sex crimes?

Attempted rape was only a misdemeanor when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford claims Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her.
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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have raised new questions about statutes of limitations -- especially with regard to sex crime allegations.

If Ford is telling the truth, the assault she describes could be considered an attempted rape.

But, attempted rape was only a misdemeanor in Maryland back in 1982 -- the year she claims Kavanaugh assaulted her at a suburban house party.

Maryland lawmakers didn't make it a felony until 1996 when they also removed the statute of limitations, according to the Washington Post.

Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes prosecutor hired by Senate Republicans to question Ford, issued a five-page report in which she described the case against Kavanaugh as being very weak.

Related: Brett Kavanaugh will be re-investigated as Senate delays vote on his confirmation

10News researched laws in Florida that dictate how long after a crime a charge can be filed.

In Florida, prosecutors have to file sexual battery charges within three years for felony offenses, although if it's a first-degree felony, they get four years to file. Misdemeanor offenses have shorter statutes of limitation. Capital offenses have no statutes of limitation.

Multiple different factors can change how long prosecutors have to file charges -- such as the age of the victim, the number of people involved or what type of sex crime is being alleged.

Crimes against children have no statute of limitations, but some sex crimes against adults max out at 25 years.

►10Investigates: Thousands of rape kits in Tampa Bay go untested

Advances in DNA technology have changed the process slightly. For some more serious crimes, if DNA evidence later identifies a suspect, prosecutors can be allowed to prosecute -- even if the statute of limitations has expired.

On Monday, Democrats gathered in Tampa, where they called for an elimination of statutes of limitation on sex crimes in Florida and more funding to help train law enforcement to best investigate such crimes. They say Tampa Bay has been a leader in training law enforcement to investigate sex crimes, and they want the area to set the standard for the whole state.

►Previous: Christine Blasey Ford tells her Kavanaugh story, choking back tears

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