Not everyone who commits a crime in Texas faces charges right away. That’s not to say that criminals in Texas will not be prosecuted for the crime at all. This is because Texas law allows the state anywhere from three to 10 years to press charges on most types of criminal offenses. This is called the statute of limitations.
If the state of Texas does not press charges before the statute of limitations ends, it can no longer prosecute for that crime. What is the statute of limitations in Texas? It depends on the specific crime. The following is an overview of the statute of limitations for crimes in Texas.
Texas Criminal Statute of Limitations for Felonies
Some crimes in Texas come with a statute of limitations that spans as little as three years, while others have no statute of limitations at all. For example, the following crimes carry a statute of limitations of 10 years:
- Injury to a disabled or elderly person
- Compelling prostitution
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Theft by a fiduciary or public servant
These crimes carry a statute of limitations that last seven years:
- Money laundering
- Identity theft
- Credit or debit card abuse
- Fraudulent use of identifying information
- Medicaid fraud
- Misappropriation of fiduciary property
- Securing execution of a document by deception
Additionally, the following felonies according to the Texas Penal Code statute of limitations have a length of five years:
- Burglary or kidnapping
- Theft or robbery
- Insurance fraud
- Endangering or abandoning a child
For certain serious crimes there is no statute of limitations. Texas Penal Code states prosecutors have no time limit for charging individuals with the following crimes:
- Murder and manslaughter
- Offenses against young children
- Human trafficking
- Leaving the scene of a fatal accident
- Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault
Felonies not listed here may have a statute of limitations that lasts three years in Texas. If there’s any confusion about how much time the prosecutor has to charge someone with a specific crime, defendants should talk to a lawyer who is familiar with the Texas criminal statute of limitations.
Statute of Limitations on Fraud in Texas
The statute of limitations on fraud in Texas depends on the crime the defendant is being accused of. For example, insurance fraud has one of the shortest statutes of limitations for fraud in Texas, as it’s only five years.
On the other hand, some types of fraud — such as forgery and theft that constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty in Texas — have a 10-year statute of limitations.
However, most types of fraud come with a statute of limitations of seven years. For instance, Medicaid fraud, identity theft, money laundering, and credit and debit card abuse are all types of fraud that have a seven-year statute of limitations.
When the Statute of Limitations Is Suspended
Generally, the statute of limitations for crimes in Texas begins on the date the crime occurred. If it’s been a specified number of years since then, the individual cannot be prosecuted for the crime anymore. But in some cases, the statute of limitations period gets suspended. This occurs when the suspect leaves the state as a fugitive. Once he or she is found, it continues. The statute of limitations may also get suspended when the suspect is under indictment for a similar crime.
Anyone who is concerned about the statute of limitations for a felony in Texas should seek legal advice from a Houston federal criminal defense lawyer immediately. Contact the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer today to learn more.