Texas Criminal Law: Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations law defines a limit for prosecuting specific crimes. All criminal charges must be filed within a specified period, and once that period expires, they can’t be filed at all. One major reason statute of limitations law is in place is to prevent evidence that has deteriorated over time from being used to convict anyone.

However, the period of limitation can be suspended under the following circumstances;

  • The time the suspect was not in the state
  • During the pendency of an indictment

Keep in mind that the clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations on the day the crime occurred. More serious crimes have a longer statute of limitations. In case you haven’t been convicted of a crime you committed, you may want to consult with a knowledgeable Houston criminal defense lawyer to represent you if you ever get convicted.

Crimes with no statute of limitations

Most serious crimes in Texas are not subject to any statute of limitation laws. These crimes include;

  • Murder/manslaughter
  • Aggravated assault and sexual assault
  • Offenses against young kids
  • Leaving an accident scene that resulted in death
  • Human trafficking

A prosecutor can charge offenders with these crimes no matter how many years have passed since the offense was committed. For cases involving a sexual performance by a kid, the statute of limitations is 20 years if the child was younger than seventeen years.

The statute of limitations (Ten years)

In Texas, the statute of limitations is set at 10 years for the following crimes;

  • Theft by a public servant crimes
  • Theft by a fiduciary crimes
  • Forgery
  • All felony offenses involving injury to elderly or disabled
  • Aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Arson

Statute of limitations (7 years)

In Texas, the statute of limitations is set at 7 seven for crimes such as securing the execution of a document via deception, misappropriation of fiduciary property, fraudulent use of identification information, money laundering, debit card or credit card abuse, bigamy and medical fraud.

Statute of limitations (5 years)

In Texas, the statute of limitations is set 5 years for crimes including injury to disabled or elderly (that is not a felony), robbery or theft, endangering or abandoning a child, burglary, insurance fraud, and kidnapping.

Misdemeanor

The statute of limitations is set two years for misdemeanors including pimping, prostitution and pandering possession of a maximum of two ounces of bhang. Besides, theft of anything worth less than $50 and other offenses classified as misdemeanors are subject to the statute of limitations set at two years.

DNA evidence

When law enforcement investigates any sexual offense, DNA evidence can help in identifying the perpetrator and increases the likelihood of holding the crime perpetrator accountable. Trained investigators know how and where to collect the DNA evidence.

Note that there is no period limit for prosecution of sexual assault if DNA evidence was collected and it’s valid.

Note that the statute of limitations requires the offender to remain in the state and visible, seemingly to necessitate that the offender remains ‘catchable.’ In case the authorities don’t discover the offender living in the open within a predetermined period, then the law allows the offender to live free. Thus, if you’re a victim of any crime, you now know how much you have to file any lawsuit.

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