Many crimes are bound to a statute of limitations that places restrictions
on the amount of time a prosecutor has to file formal charges against
an individual. Should the prosecutor fail to bring a criminal case within
the allotted time period, the state loses their right to put an individual
on trial for an alleged crime.
What are the statutes of limitations for common crimes?
Different levels of crimes correspond to different kinds of limitations.
Misdemeanor crimes have a two year statute of limitations on their prosecution,
while crimes such as murder, offenses against children, human trafficking,
and hit and run fatalities have no time limit on their prosecution. However,
there are ways to suspend the statutes.
Statutes of limitations in Texas:
3 years: Any felony not falling under additional statute of limitation lengths
5 years: Theft, burglary, robbery, child endangerment or abandonment, and insurance fraud
7 years: Misapplication of the property of a financial institution, tax crimes,
money laundering, fraud, bigamy, and identity theft
10 years: Thefts involving officials, arson, compelling prostitution, injury to
an elderly or disabled person, and forgery
In addition to these crimes, sexual assault of a child under the age of
17 can be persecuted until the 38
th birthday of the alleged victim. In some cases, such as when the victim
is under the age of 17, the statute of limitations can be suspended, allowing
the state extra time to begin legal action. This also applies if the accused
moves out of state or when a criminal indictment or complaint is pending
against them. That means someone that may have committed a crime and then
moved out of state has their statute of limitations suspended, awaiting
their return to the state the offense occurred in until it starts.