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Statute of Limitations

Both civil and criminal courts follow a deadline known as a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is essentially a time limit the government to file criminal charges against someone. If the prosecution attempts to charge someone past the statute of limitations, then the person accused can have their charges easily dismissed.

The purpose of a statute of limitations is to protect the integrity of the evidence associated with the case and to ensure charges are resolved in a timely manner. Generally, the statute of limitations for a crime in Texas will start when the offense occurs. However, in some cases it’s difficult to determine when the crime occurred, or a victim may be too scared to speak up about the crime until years later. These types of scenarios may delay the starting of the time clock and therefore extend the statute of limitations.

Defense Attorney Explains Statute of Limitations in Austin, Texas

In Texas, the rules for a crime’s statute of limitations can be complicated depending on the situation. Not only this, but the same act may result in multiple criminal charges, which means there would be more than one limitations period that could apply. If you’ve been charged with a crime and are unsure if the statute of limitations has passed, we highly recommend you seek legal representation with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett.

Kevin Bennett of The Law Office of Kevin Bennett can investigate your charges and determine what your statute of limitations is as well whether it’s still in effect. If the statute of limitations has not passed, attorney Bennett can collect his resources and utilize his skills and knowledge to build a sturdy defense for your case. Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett now at (512) 476-4626 to set up your first no-obligation consultation for free. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett accepts clients throughout the greater Austin and Travis County area.

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Overview of Texas Statute of Limitations

The procedures for a crime’s statute of limitations can be found under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure under section 12.01. The statute goes on to state that crimes classified as misdemeanors have a statute of limitations of 2 years while felonies have a statute of limitations of up to 3 years. The laws do explain that felony indictments may be presented within these limits, but not afterwards.

Crimes with a 5 Year Statute of Limitations

Most felony offenses have an applicable statute of limitations of 3 years unless otherwise stated. However, some offenses have an enhanced statute of limitations due to the seriousness of the crime. The following are crimes with an applicable statute of limitations of 5 years.

Crimes with a 7 Year Statute of Limitations

Under section 12.01(3), Texas law determines certain types of felony charges with a statute of limitations of 7 years. Some of these crimes include the following:

  • Securing execution of document by deception
  • Felony violations under Chapter 162 of the Tax Code
  • Misapplication of fiduciary property or property of a financial institution
  • Money laundering
  • False statement to obtain property or credit under section 32.32 of the Penal Code
  • Credit card or debit card abuse under section 32.31 of the Penal Code
  • Medicaid fraud under section 35A.02 of the Penal Code
  • Bigamy under section 25.01of the Penal Code
  • Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information under section 32.51

Crimes with a 10 Year Statute of Limitations

Some felony offenses have a statute of limitations period of 10 year due to the severity of the offense. Some crimes with a 10-year statute of limitations include:

  • Theft of any estate by an executor, administrator, guardian, or trustee with the intent to defraud any creditor, legatee, ward, heir, distribute, settlor, or beneficiary
  • Forgery or using, passing, or uttering forged instruments
  • Sexual assault except as provided in subdivision (1)
  • Injury to an elderly or disabled person as a first-degree felony
  • Theft by a public servant of a government property over which they exercise control in their official capacity
  • Arson
  • Trafficking of people
  • Compelling prostitution

10 Year Statute of Limitations from the Victim’s 18 Birthday

Certain offenses involving children have an extended statute of limitations that begins on the victim’s 18th birthday. So, even if the offense was committed longer than ten years ago, the limitations period is still in place until ten years after the victim has turned 18. The following are crimes with a 10 year limitations period from the 18th birthday of the alleged victim.

  • Injury to a child under section 22.04 of the Penal Code
  • Bigamy under 25.01 of the Penal Code if the alleged victim was under the age of 18 and was married or purported to marry the defendant despite being underage
  • Trafficking of people under section 20A(a)(5) or (6) of the Penal Code
  • Compelling prostitution under section 4305(a)(2) of the Penal Code

Crimes with a 20 Year Statute of Limitations

Certain Texas felony offenses have an applicable statute of limitations of 20 years. Section 12.05(5) of the statute states that for certain crimes the statute of limitations is 20 years starting on the victim’s birthday if they were under the age of 17 at the time of the offense. The following are some offenses with a 20 year statute of limitations:

  • Aggravated kidnapping under section 20.04(a)(4) of the Penal Code if the offense was committed with the intent to violate or abuse the victim in a sexual manner
  • Burglary under section 30.02(d) of the Penal Code
  • Sexual performance by a child under section 43.25 of the Penal Code

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What Crimes Have No Statute of Limitations in Texas?

If the crime causes severe emotional or physical distress, Texas law may not assign it a statute of limitations. That means the prosecution can file charges against you for one of these crimes at any time, even ten or twenty years later. Felony crimes with no statute of limitations include:

  • Murder and manslaughter
  • Continuous sexual abuse of young children under section 21.02 of the Penal Code
  • Sexual assault under section 22.011(a)(2) of the Penal Code
  • Aggravated sexual assault under section 22.021(a)(1)(B) of the Penal Code
  • Indecency with a child under section 21.11 of the Penal Code
  • Leaving the scene of an accident under section 550.021 of the Transportation Code if the accident resulted in the death of another
  • Sexual assault if the identity of the preparator is unknown
  • Trafficking of people under section 20A.02(a)(7) or (8) of the Penal Code
  • Continuous trafficking of persons

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Additional Resources

Texas Statute of Limitations – Visit the official website for the Texas Statutes to read up on their  Code of Criminal Procedure to learn more about criminal statute of limitations. Learn the statute of limitations for various crimes, how limitations periods work for criminal conspiracy cases, when the toll clock starts clicking, and what time isn’t computed under Texas law.

Supreme Court of Texas | Extended Limitations Period Due to COVID-19 – Visit the official website of the Texas Court to read an emergency order from the Supreme Court declaring an extension on certain statute of limitations in Texas. Access the site to learn when the order is effective, who signed the executive order, and the reasoning for doing so.

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Statute of Limitations Attorney in Austin, Texas

You can find out if your limitations period is still in effect by calling Kevin Bennett of The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. He can analyze the case and determine whether charges can be brought forward or not. If you’ve recently been arrested for a crime, defense attorney Bennett can then begin investigating even further to find errors that could undermine the prosecution’s case. No matter your circumstances, it’s important you act quickly to resolve your charges. Don’t wait another moment to secure experienced and skilled legal representation today.

Schedule your first consultation absolutely free with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett by calling (512) 476-4626. At the appointment statute of limitations attorney Bennett will sit with you and discuss all your legal options. You can find our offices in Austin, but accept clients throughout the Travis County area.

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