Statutes of limitations are powerful protections built into state and federal laws. These limits are set to preserve the integrity of the case and give people accused of a crime a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves. Without these time restrictions, people could make allegations from something so long ago that evidence no longer exists to support a defense.
However, these statutes of limitations can change. For instance, the state of California is considering eliminating the statute of limitations that is currently in place for felony sex crimes. The change has been sparked by situations like that involving Bill Cosby, who is accused of sexual assault crimes against dozens of women 30 or more years ago. Instead of having 10 years to pursue charges stemming from sexual assault, alleged victims would be able to pursue charges at any time.