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Criminal charges must be filed or indicted within a specific period of time to ensure the prompt prosecution of the crime. The statute of limitations serves as a procedural rule that aims to keep defendants from a severely delayed and potentially unfair prosecution.
How the statute of limitations applies to assaultive offenses in Texas:
Chapter 12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure addresses the statute of limitations for various offenses. The most serious offenses, including murder and manslaughter, carry no statute of limitations, while felony offenses, such as arson and forgery, have a ten-year statute of limitations. Unless a felony is specifically listed as falling within a particular statute of limitations, a three-year statute of limitations will apply. This means that a felony assaultive offense, such as the assault of a public servant or a repeat assaultive offense against a family member, would likely carry a 3-year statute of limitations. An indictment may be brought at any time within this three-year period, starting from the date of the alleged offense.
Many assaultive offenses in Texas are charged as misdemeanors. According to Chapter 12, Article 12.02 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, “An indictment or information for any Class A or Class B misdemeanor may be presented within two years from the date of the commission of the offense, and not afterward.” For Class A assaultive offenses, the charges must be brought within this time period; if they are brought after the statute of limitations has expired, the defense may file a pretrial motion to dismiss the charges as directed under Title 1, Article 27.08 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
If you have been arrested of accused of a crime in Texas, contact our office to set up a free consultation today.