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Texas Criminal Statute of Limitations


Texas and all other states have criminal statutes of limitations that apply to their felony and misdemeanor offenses. A statute of limitations is a law forbidding prosecutors from charging an alleged offender with a crime committed more than a specified number of years ago.

Statutes of limitations exist for the following reasons:

  • Relevant evidence may have been lost over time, proving a disadvantage to both the prosecution and the defense
  • Witnesses’ memories fade and become less reliable over time
  • The passage of time makes it unjust to bring a claim against an alleged offender

In Texas, the statute of limitations is tolled or put on hold while the defendant is absent from the state. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, speak with a qualified San Antonio criminal defense lawyer.

Texas Crimes Without Statutes of Limitations

Generally, serious felonies have a longer statute of limitations periods, although some felonies have no set statutes of limitations. For example, Texas has no statute of limitations for the following:

  • Murder and manslaughter
  • Sexual assault or aggravated assault
  • Offenses against young children
  • Leaving the scene of an accident which resulted in death
  • Human trafficking

Texas Felony Statutes of Limitations

With few exceptions, Texas’s remaining felony statutes of limitations are set at ten, seven, and five-year increments in Texas. Those felonies without an expressly set statute of limitations are subject to a three-year statute of limitations in the state.

Texas sets the statute of limitations at ten years for the following crimes:

  • Theft by a fiduciary offense
  • Theft by a public servant offense
  • Forgery
  • Felony offenses involving injury to disabled or elderly
  • Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault
  • Arson
  • Compelling prostitution

The statute of limitations is set at seven years in Texas for the following crimes:

  • Misappropriation of fiduciary property
  • Securing the execution of a document by deception
  • Money laundering
  • Credit card or debt abuse
  • Fraudulent use of identifying information
  • Bigamy
  • Medicaid fraud
  • The statute of limitations is set at five years in Texas for the following crimes
  • Theft or robbery
  • Kidnapping or burglary
  • Injury to elderly or disabled individuals that is not a felony
  • Abandoning or endangering a child and insurance fraud

Exceptions to Texas’s Felony Statutes of Limitations

Generally, the statute of limitations starts running when the crime occurs, but there are exceptions under certain circumstances. For instance, the Texas statute of limitations does not begin running for certain crimes committed against a child until that child reaches adulthood.

These crimes include:

  • Aggravated kidnapping with intent to sexually assault. The statute of limitations is twenty years from the victim’s eighteenth birthday
  • Trafficking for forced labor or services. The statute of limitations is ten years from the victim’s eighteenth birthday
  • Injury to a child. The statute of limitations is ten years from the victim’s eighteenth birthday

Texas Misdemeanor Statutes of Limitations

The statute of limitations for a misdemeanor in Texas is typically two years. If you have specific questions about statutes of limitations in Texas felony or misdemeanor cases, do not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney like those at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, today.

At Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, our clients are our priority. Call us in San Antonio to learn about our full service criminal defense firm and personalized legal strategies. One of our criminal defense attorneys will explain your legal rights, advise you of your best legal options, and treat you with the decency and respect you deserve.