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Statute of limitations runs out on criminal charges

Many St. Louis residents make it a priority to get things done on time. Whether it is at work or at home, individuals pride themselves on doing things in a timely manner.

Timeliness can also play a big role in the criminal justice system. Under what is known as a statute of limitations, the government often has only a certain period of time in which it can bring criminal charges against a person. After the time set by the statute has run out, the person can no longer be charged with the crime.

This was the case recently for a St. Louis Alderman who was alleged to have engaged in white collar crime. The woman faced allegations that she spent about $18,900 of the $22,000 she took in campaign money while she worked for a campaign in 2008. The statute of limitations had reportedly run out on many of the possible criminal charges the woman could have faced.

However, the woman admitted to the allegations, and has entered into an agreement to pay $22,000 in restitution. Restitution is often ordered by a judge as part of the penalties a person faces in a criminal case upon a conviction. It is a penalty that requires the person to pay back money to victims from whom the individual took the money. In this sense, restitution differs from a fine the person may be ordered to pay, which goes to the state.

In cases involving white collar crime, restitution can be a big issue when the amount of money involved in the case is substantial. Accordingly, individuals should understand when restitution may apply, and what factors go into a judge's decision to order restitution.

Source: STL Today, "Former St. Louis alderman to avoid state criminal charges for misuse of campaign money," Nicholas J.C. Pastor, April 11, 2014

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