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Texas Criminal Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations establishes a period of time after an offense in which proceedings must be initiated in order for any legal action to be taken. The Texas Criminal Statute of Limitations outlines the following time restraints for felonies and misdemeanors.

Criminal Statute of Limitations for Texas Felonies

Some offenses are not explicitly named in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Indictments for felonies that are not mentioned in the code, and thus do not appear below, are subject to a three-year statute of limitations.

Felonies Without a Time Limit

There are a number of felonies that have no statute of limitations under Texas law. As such, an indictment may be presented at any point after the offense, regardless of how much time has passed. The felonies with no statute of limitations are:

  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault of a child
  • Compelling prostitution of a child
  • Continuous sexual abuse of young child or children
  • Continuous trafficking of persons
  • Hit and run involving death
  • Indecency with a child
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Sexual assault, if one of the following is true:
    • Biological matter is collected and either hasn’t been tested yet or has been tested and is determined to not match the victim or any other person whose identity is readily ascertained
    • There is probable cause that the defendant has committed similar sexual offenses to five or more victims
  • Sexual assault of a child
  • Trafficking of a child under 18

Felonies with a 10-Year Statute of Limitation

The following felonies must be reported within a decade of the commission of the offense in order for legal consequences to be ordered.

  • Arson
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Forgery
  • Injury to an elderly or disabled individual punishable by a first degree felony
  • Sexual assault that does not meet the criteria of assault with no statute of limitations
  • Theft by a fiduciary
  • Theft of an estate by an executor, administrator, guardian, or trustee with intent to defraud a creditor, heir, or beneficiary interested in the estate
  • Theft of government property by a public servant
  • Trafficking of persons

Felonies with a 7-Year Statute of Limitation

Article 12.01(3) outlines crimes subject to a 7-year statute of limitations. This includes:

  • Bigamy
  • Credit or debit card abuse
  • False statement to get property
  • Financial exploitation of:
    • A child 14 or younger
    • An elder 65 or older
    • A disabled individual
  • Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information
  • Health care fraud
  • Misapplication of fiduciary property
  • Money laundering
  • Securing execution of document by deception
  • Tax code violation

Felonies with a 5-Year Statute of Limitation

Under Article 12.01(4), the following offenses must be reported within five years of their commission.

  • Abandoning or endangering a child
  • Burglary
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • Injury to an elderly or disabled person that is not punishable by a first degree felony
  • Insurance fraud
  • Kidnapping
  • Other theft or robbery crimes not mentioned in the sections above

Felonies with a Statute of Limitation of 20 Years After the Victim’s 18th Birthday

For a few crimes, if the victim was under 17 at the time of the offense, the felony has a 20-year statute of limitation that begins on the victim’s 18th birthday. So, if the felony was committed against a child who was only eight, they would have 30 years to present the case. The crimes that fall under this timeframe include:

  • Aggravated kidnapping with the intent to sexually assault
  • Burglary, if:
    • It occurred in a habitation, or home
    • The defendant committed, tried to commit, or otherwise entered with the intent to commit aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or continuous sexual abuse of child or children
  • Child pornography

Felonies with a Statute of Limitation of 10 Years After the Victim’s 18th Birthday

Here too, the statute of limitations does not begin on the date of the offense. Rather, the clock starts once the victim turns 18. The associated crimes include:

  • Bigamy, if the victim was younger than 18 when the offense was committed
  • Injury to a child
  • Trafficking for forced labor or services

Felonies with a Statute of Limitation of 2 Years from Discovery

There is one instance under Texas law where the statute of limitation does not begin on the date of the crime nor the child’s birthday. Rather, the countdown begins on the date that the victim realizes that the crime occurred. This happens when someone commits:

  • Sexual assault, where the actor is a medical professional who inseminates a patient with a donor’s sample when the patient never explicitly consented to the use of the material from that donor

Criminal Statute of Limitations for Texas Misdemeanors

For Class A and Class B misdemeanors, an indictment or information must be presented within two years from the date of the offense.

For Class C misdemeanors, a complaint or information must also be presented within two years from the date of the offense.

Criminal Statute of Limitations for Aggravated Offenses, Attempt, Conspiracy, Solicitation, or Organized Criminal Activity

Texas offers further guidance for criminal activity where the statute of limitation is dependent on the details of the criminal act. These offenses will follow the same statute of limitations as:

  • Aggravated offenses not named in the above sections: the same statute of limitations as the primary crime
  • Criminal attempt: the same statute of limitations as the offense attempted
  • Criminal conspiracy: the same statute of limitations as the most serious offense that was conspired
  • Criminal solicitation: the same statute of limitations as the felony solicited
  • Organized criminal activity: the same statute of limitations as the most serious offense that was the object of the organized criminal activity
If you are facing a felony or misdemeanor charge in Dallas, you need powerful criminal defense to protect yourself and your future. Contact Mathur Law Offices, P.C. today to discuss your case and hear more about how we can help you.

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