Statute of limitations laws in Texas vary. Let’s go over four notable ones and what you need to know.
About the Texas Statute of Limitations
Some of the most important Texas statutes to know are called statutes of limitation. These laws can affect how long the State of Texas may bring a criminal case against you or how long a fellow citizen or organization can bring a civil lawsuit against you. Once the timeframe set forth in a statute of limitation has passed, a case can no longer be pursued. In this article, we hone in some key statutes of limitation at the state and federal levels.
4 Texas Statutes You Should Know About
The Texas Legislature has set a statute of limitations in Texas of four years on lawsuits from creditors seeking unpaid debts. These types of cases are breach of contract lawsuits since the consumer formed a contract with the creditor when taking out the line of credit or loan. Once the statute of limitations has expired, if a lender has not asserted its right to bring a claim against the borrower for defaulting on repayment, the borrower may raise the affirmative defense of the statute of limitations under Texas law. As a result, the case will most likely be dismissed.
Specifically, the Texas statute of limitations for debt collection action is embodied in the Texas Debt Collection Act. Along with its federal equivalent, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the law aims to protect consumers from unfair collection practices by barring collectors from using abusive, fraudulent, or misleading tactics. For example, seeking collection past the four-year window is considered an abusive practice under Texas law, and thus, prohibited.
Some crimes in Texas come with a statute of limitation that spans as short as three years, and some have no statute of limitations at all. For example, here are a few crimes to which the Texas Legislature has paid special attention and have singled out for no statute of limitation:
- Offenses against young children
- Human trafficking
- Leaving the scene of a fatal accident
- Certain types of sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault
As a lawmaking body, the Texas Legislature has expressed its clear intention to offer no escape from prosecution of these highest crimes.
Other crimes have varying lengths of limitations. For instance, a ten-year statute of limitations exists for offenses including:
- Injury to a disabled or elderly person
- Compelling prostitution
- Other types of sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault
- Theft by a public servant
Certain other crimes have a seven-year statute of limitations, including:
- Money laundering
- Identity theft
- Credit card abuse
- Fraudulent use of identification
- Medicaid fraud
- Misappropriation of fiduciary property
- Securing signature of a document by deception
Burglary, kidnapping, theft, robbery, insurance fraud, endangering a child, and abandoning a child have a five-year statute of limitation.
Additional felonies not listed may have a statute of limitations that lasts three years in Texas. If you are unsure about how much time the prosecutor has to charge someone with a particular crime, defendants should talk to an experienced Texas attorney familiar with the Texas criminal statute of limitations.
There are statutes of limitation on drug crimes. Like other criminal statutes of limitation, these have to do with providing an adequate defense, which becomes more complex, perhaps even impossible, as witness memories fade and evidence spoils.
The statutes of limitation for drug crimes will likely change depending on the type of charge you’re dealing with, such as whether you’ve been accused of possession or distribution. In addition, many drug crimes are interstate crimes and thus federal crimes, which will also affect the statute of limitations.
Tax fraud is generally a federal crime subject to federal laws governing the statutes of limitation. When you file your taxes yourself, it’s possible to make mistakes. The IRS can launch an investigation against you to determine if the mistakes were, in fact, errors or the result of deliberate wrongdoing (also known as “evasion”). The applicable IRS statutes vary for tax fraud and evasion, and in some cases, stretch as far as six years or more.
In most cases, the IRS can audit your tax returns up to three years after you file them. However, if that audit reveals that you omitted more than twenty-five percent of your income on your tax return, the federal tax fraud statute of limitations is six years.
Finding the Best Texas Statute Lawyer
When you need advice or assistance regarding statutes of limitation in Texas, you want attorneys who have the skillset and resources to help you. For help with statutes of limitation, contact attorneys Seth Kretzer and James Volberding today!