Question for Dope lawyers:
I was reading a legal code recently and part of it said “The statute of limitations shall be twenty years for crimes for which the principal punishment is 3-10 years of imprisonment” (but this sentence can be increased beyond ten years if there are aggravating conditions present) but then later added, "the statute of limitations shall be determined by the principal punishment notwithstanding that such sentence shall be increased by law."
I found that hard to parse. I’m 90% sure it means the statute of limitations remains the same regardless of whether aggravating conditions apply, but maybe it means the opposite - SoL changes IF aggravating conditions apply?
Edit: in this context “Notwithstanding” means in spite of, not unless, right? I was in a 180-degree confusion loop.
I would interpret it as being equivalent to “even if” - the limitation period is based on the normal sentencing range, even if the sentence could be extended by aggravating circumstances.
Notwithstanding means “in spite of” or more generally for legal works it can be described as something like “the effect of this law overrides the effects of whatever can be described by the phrase that follows ‘notwithstanding’” I’m sure that some terrible legislators have at some point in time have had laws on the books that both try to override each other. If I remember statutory construction correctly, whichever one was passed most recently wins in that case, but even that might get into trouble if the notwithstanding clause happened to say “any laws passed after this one”. I’m guessing such laws would still be overridden by new ones that apply their effect notwithstanding the old one because someone has to win, so that phrase probably doesn’t actually get used.