It’s important to remember that statutes of limitations vary from state to state.
Statutes of limitations put a limit on how long a person can be prosecuted for a crime. These time limits also exist in civil law. For example, the statute of limitations for suing someone over a breach of contract is generally 10 years. This ensures that people don’t have to spend their lives constantly looking over the shoulder, anticipating a lawsuit over something that happened decades ago.
In the criminal context, statutes of limitations work the same way. In most cases, the clock starts running when the person commits a crime, however, there are some instances in which the clock is delayed.
If you’re facing prosecution for a crime that happened a long time ago, it’s important to remember that statutes of limitations vary from state to state. There are also different statutes of limitations depending on whether you’ve been charged at the state or the federal level. If you’ve been charged with multiple crimes arising from the same incident, it’s even possible that the statute of limitations has expired for some crimes but not others.
What If the Statute of Limitations Has Run on My Crime?
If the statute of limitations has expired for the offense you’re charged with, you have an affirmative defense against the charges. Under Texas law, the statute of limitations for misdemeanors is two years. For felonies, which are more serious crimes punishable by jail time, the statute of limitations varies, with many felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
If the statute of limitations has definitely passed, the prosecution can’t pursue a case against you. However, there is a chance you may still face a civil lawsuit. This occurred in the sexual assault obligations brought against Bill Cosby. Although the statute of limitations for sexual assault had passed in the various states in which he was accused, some victims still pursued money damages against him in civil court. Media reports also state that some states have started to extend or even eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual assault in the wake of the Cosby case.
Crimes Without a Statute of Limitations
In certain cases, society considers some crimes so terrible that there is no time limit on prosecuting them. In Texas, for example, there is no statute of limitations for murder or manslaughter. Texas has also eliminated time limits for specific types of sexual assault.
The rules are different in other states. In Arizona and Colorado, for example, state law puts no time limits on crimes involving public funds or public records. In Colorado, there is no statute of limitations for the crime of treason. Other states have done away with statutes of limitations for crimes like kidnapping, arson, and violent offenses.
Contact a Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Case
If you’re facing any type of criminal prosecution in Texas courts or federal court, it’s important to contact a Dallas criminal defense lawyer about your case.
Broden & Mickelsen, LLP
2600 State St Dallas, Texas 75204
Main Phone: (214) 720-9552