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Texas Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws

A statute of limitations is a restriction on how long a person or entity may wait before taking legal action on a matter. There are statutes of limitations in both civil and criminal cases. As in other states, the criminal statute of limitations in Texas establishes time limits for how soon after an incident (often the date of an arrest) a prosecutor must file formal charges against a defendant. While misdemeanors typically have a two-year time limit, serious felonies such as murder and certain sexual assaults are not bound by any statute of limitations in Texas.

A summary of the Texas criminal statute of limitations is in the table below. See the links following this article for additional resources. For more information you can also heck out these articles: Details on State Criminal Statute of Limitations and Criminal Law Basics.

Code Section

Chapter twelve of the Texas Criminal Code governs the criminal statute of limitations.

Felonies (Section 12.01)

Time limits for felonies include the following:

  • None: Murder, manslaughter, certain sexual assaults (including sexual abuse of a child), hit and run resulting in death, and certain human trafficking offenses;
  • Ten years: Thefts involving fiduciaries or officials, forgery, injury to an elderly or disabled person, arson, and compelling prostitution;
  • Seven years: Misapplication of fiduciary property or property of a financial institution, money laundering, certain tax crimes, fraud, identity theft, and bigamy.
  • Five years: Other theft, burglary, and robbery offenses, insurance fraud, and abandoning or endangering a child.
  • Three years: All other felonies not specifically referenced in the code section.

For many of the crimes listed above, if the victim is under the age of seventeen when the crime is committed, the statute of limitations is typically extended.

Misdemeanors

The statute of limitations is two years from the date the crime was committed.

Acts During Which Statute Does Not Run

The statute of limitations does not run when the accused is not in the state. It also does not while a criminal indictment, information, or complaint is pending.

A defendant charged with a criminal offense may want to contact a Texas criminal defense attorney for assistance and legal advice.

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Texas Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws: Related Resources

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