Statute of Limitation Laws in Texas

Statute of Limitation Laws in Texas

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.