Ever since I was a little kid, I remember criminals and their hangers-on on TV and in the movies discussing the statute of limitations. When the statute of limitations on their particular crime expired, they would be free to return to a life of ease. For those shows that featured the exploits of authority types, the statute of limitations provided a drama-inducing deadline; if the criminals were not put to justice by the time the statute of limitations expired, they would get off scott-free.
So can someone explain to me how “expired” is the right word here? As I understand it, a statute of limitations is a law (that’s what “statute” means, right?) that says that after 7 years, you can no longer be prosecuted for insurance fraud (or whatever). So isn’t “expired” exactly the wrong word? Isn’t the seven-year mark exactly when the statute takes effect?