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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20354
Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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My uncle was arrested a few days ago and is in jail. Hes being

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My uncle was arrested a few days ago and is in jail. He's being accused of molesting my cousin's babysitter around ten years ago. Can they just arrest him on this accusation? Isn't there supposed to be some forensic evidence? or evidence at all? And what about the statute of limitations?

How old was the alleged victim at the time of the alleged molestation?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Around 15, I believe.

If this is being charged as a Class B Felony, then there is a 5 year statute of limitations after the alleged victim turned 18. So that generally means charges may be filed as long as the victim is 23 years old or younger.

As for evidence. In order to arrest someone for a crime there must be probable cause to believe that the crime occurred and that the person being arrested was the person who did it. So, if the alleged victim is credible, police could arrest just based on allegations. That said, it is fairly unusual for the State to file charges without more evidence, which doesn't have to be forensic (like on TV) but could be other indirect evidence that supports the victim's story.

Ultimately though someone can't be convicted of the crime unless there is evidence that convinces the trier of fact beyond a reasonable doubt. Which is usually more than a victim's testimony from an event that is 10 years in the past.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
What kind of indirect evidence do you mean?
It could be all sorts of things. Statements from witnesses, statements from someone who said your uncle admitted what he is accused of to them. Could be someone who the alleged victim at the time made an immediate statement of what happened to her to. Or it could be proof that he was there alone with her at the time she alleges this happened and he has something in his background that shows a pattern of this behavior. I can't second guess what the evidence might show, but it isn't like TV and there isn't always forensic evidence to prove a case. It certainly helps the prosecution if there is forensic evidence, but it isn't always necessary. However, without it the defense has a much easier time and trying to create reasonable doubt in the jury's mind.