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Texas Criminal Code: Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations is the time limit that charges can be brought against the alleged perpetrator of a crime. In criminal cases, the state or federal government is the prosecutor and the alleged perpetrator is the defendant. The statute of limitations is then the time limit the prosecutor has to file formal charges against the defendant. After that time has passed, the defendant cannot be charged with that particular crime.

Various criminal acts have specific limits set on them. In general, the more severe the crime, the longer the period of time in which the prosecutor has to file charges against the defendant. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure stipulates the time limit for crimes categorized as felonies and misdemeanors. The following is a truncated list without definitions and exceptions.

§12.01 Felonies are listed as the following:

No Limitation:

  • Murder and manslaughter
  • Sexual assault with different conditions
  • Indecency with a child
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident where a death was involved
  • Trafficking of persons

10 Year Limitation:

  • Theft
  • Forgery of documents
  • Sexual assault (not applicable to the above)
  • Arson
  • Trafficking of persons
  • Compelling prostitution

7 Year Limitation:

  • Misapplication of fiduciary property
  • Securing a document by deception
  • False statement to obtain property or credit
  • Money laundering
  • Credit card or debit abuse
  • False identifying information
  • Medicaid fraud
  • Bigamy

5 Year Limitation:

  • Theft or robbery
  • Kidnapping or burglary
  • Elder abuse
  • Abandoning or endangering a child
  • Insurance fraud

There are exceptions to these limitations in cases where the victim was under 17 years of age when the crime was committed. In these cases, and depending on the charge, the statute of limitations can be extended out up to 20 years.

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure

§12.02 Misdemeanors

2 Year Limitation

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C

On each of these, the statute of limitations begins the day after the crime was committed. These are listed as general categories of crimes that prosecutors and defense attorneys use to calculate the appropriateness of charges.

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure §12.05 is a tolling (stopping) of the statute of limitations that states, if the accused is absent from the state the time limits stop until the accused returns to the state of Texas. An alleged perpetrator might think they can disappear for a period of time while the time limit runs, and then return, freed from facing any charges. In Texas, that is not the case, whenever the accused returns to Texas, the charges will more than likely be waiting for them.

Texas has one of the highest incarceration rates in the US. It also has one of the highest execution rates. Persons charged with a crime in Texas need quality, experienced legal representation. Anyone accused of a criminal act requires the experience of a criminal defense attorney who can make sure the rights of the accused are upheld, also that fines and sentencing are reduced to the minimum allowable under the law. Without legal counsel, prosecutors can push for maximum sentencing.

Call the experienced attorneys at Carroll Troberman, PLLC, for a free consultation today.