Statutes of limitation designate a particular time frame within which a prosecution must be commenced. The inherent policy behind a statute of limitation is to adequately provide a defendant the needed resources, many of which are time sensitive, in order to mount a competent defense. A secondary purpose may be to encourage law enforcement to promptly investigate and prosecute crimes. The average statute of limitation for a federal crime is 5 years. However, more serious crimes—often capital crimes—do not have a statute of limitation.