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State of Limitations in Texas varies depending on the type of case

With a large portion of our practice dealing with criminal law, we get a number of inquiries from people about the statute of limitations in Texas law. This will vary from any Federal statute of limitations on Federal crimes.

Many times, folks think that their county district attorney has run out of time to bring charges in a specific case.

That time varies depending on the alleged offense.

There are a number of criminal offenses where there is no statute of limitations, there is no time limit on charges being filed. In some cases, the state of limitations may be tolled, or suspended, under certain circumstances.

Navigating the legal landscape can be daunting, especially when it comes to understanding the statute in Texas. This concept is crucial for Texas residents, particularly those involved in criminal law matters.

Here, we’ll break down the statute of limitations, explain its importance, and provide some insight into how it varies by offense.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute refers to the maximum time period within which legal proceedings must be initiated. After this period expires, charges cannot be brought against the accused, providing a form of legal closure. It’s important to note that Texas statutes differ from federal statutes, so it’s essential to understand the specific laws applicable within the state.

Why the Statute of Limitations Matters

For anyone involved in or concerned about potential criminal charges, knowing the statute of limitations is critical. Many people mistakenly believe that if a significant amount of time has passed, their county district attorney can no longer file charges. However, this isn’t always the case, as the time limit varies depending on the alleged offense.

All of the particulars are outlined in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 12 “Limitations”.

Statute of Limitations by Offense

Criminal Offenses With No Statute of Limitations – Article 12.01(1)

There are certain criminal offenses in Texas for which there is no statute of limitations. This means there’s no time limit for filing charges. These typically include severe crimes, such as:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Sexual Assault of a Child
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child
  • Sexual Assaults where DNA was collected
  • Serial Sexual Assault
  • Continuous Sexual Assault
  • Indecency with a Child
  • Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death
  • Continuous Trafficking of Persons
  • Compelling Prostitution of Child under 18 years of age

10-Year Statute of Limitations – Article 12.01(2)

  • Sexual Assault
  • Compelling Prostitution
  • Trafficking of Persons
  • Arson
  • Injury to Elderly or Disabled (First Degree)
  • Theft by a Public Servant of Government Property
  • Theft by Trustee

7-Year Statute of Limitations – Article 12.01(3)

  • Money Laundering
  • Healthcare (Medicaid) Fraud
  • Bigamy
  • Credit Card or Debit Card Abuse
  • False Statement to Obtain Credit
  • Misapplication of Fiduciary Property
  • Securing Fiduciary Property by Deception
  • Felony Violation of Tax Code Chapter 162 (Motor Fuel Taxes)

5-Year Statute of Limitations – Article 12.01(4)

  • Robbery
  • Theft
  • Kidnapping
  • Burglary
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Injury to Elderly or Disabled (other than First Degree offense)
  • Abandoning or Endangering a Child

5-Year Statute of Limitations – Article 12.01(5)

  • Sexual Performance by a Child (If the victim was under age 17 at the time of the offense, 20 years from the victim’s 18th birthday)
  • Aggravated Kidnapping with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offense (If the victim was under age 17 at the time of the offense, 20 years from the victim’s 18th birthday)
  • Insurance Fraud

5-Year Statute of Limitations – Article 12.01(6)

  • Injury to a Child (Ten years from the 18th birthday of the victim)

3-Year Statute of Limitations – Article 12.01(7)

  • Other Felonies

2-Year Statute of Limitations – Article 12.01(7)

  • Misdemeanors

DWI Misdemeanor Criminal Offenses 2-Year Statute of Limitations

  • Driving While Intoxicated
  • Driving While Intoxicated – Misdemeanor Repetition
  • Driving While Intoxicated with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of greater than or equal to .15

DWI Criminal Offenses 3-Year Statute of Limitations

  • Intoxication Assault
  • Intoxication Manslaughter
  • Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger
  • Driving While Intoxicated – Felony Repetition

Understanding the statute regarding time limits in Texas is essential for residents, especially those dealing with or anticipating criminal charges. The time limits for bringing charges vary significantly by offense, and in some cases, there is no limit at all. Additionally, certain situations may toll or suspend the statute.

If you’re unsure about how the statute may apply to your situation, consulting with a legal professional is always a good idea. For more information or personalized advice, feel free to reach out to our team.

Ready to get your legal questions answered regarding time limits on criminal cases? Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.

Blizzard and Zimmerman Attorneys Abilene Texas