Texas Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations TX- Summary Statute of Limitations as they apply to the state of Texas

Texas’s statute of limitations establishes a deadline before which civil cases – such as lawsuits – must be filed in the state. In relation to criminal charges, it also prevents prosecutors from charging an individual with a crime after a specified period of time has passed. The statutes of limitations for different civil actions and crimes can vary from state to state, so read on for more information about how they apply in Texas.

Texas Civil Statute of Limitations

Texas’s civil statute of limitations can range from 1 year to 5 years, depending on the severity of the case. The date of discovery of an incident or the date an offense is committed is usually when time starts counting down.

Be aware that if you fail to file your civil claim before the established deadline, the opposing party can use the statute of limitations in their defense and file a motion to dismiss the case on the basis that the time allotted to file it has already passed. Any legal claim will be lost forever once your case is dismissed. 

A summary of civil statutes of limitations in Texas:

Injury to Person2 yrs. §16.003(a); Sex crimes: 5 yrs. §16.0045
Libel/Slander1 yr. §16.002(a)
Fraud4 yrs. §16.004(a)(4)
Injury to Personal Property2 yrs. §16.003(a)
Professional MalpracticeNot specified
Trespass2 yrs. §16.003(a)
Collection of RentsNot specified
ContractsWritten: 4 yrs. real property. §16.004(a)(3)
Collection of Debt on Account4 yrs. §16.004(a) (3)
JudgmentsNot specified

State laws related to filing lawsuits can change often. While our goal is to provide the most current information available, please consider contacting a Texas attorney or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re researching. 

Texas Criminal Statute of Limitations

Texas’s criminal statute of limitations sets time limits on the filing of criminal charges in the state, but there is no deadline for crimes considered especially heinous, including murder or certain sexual assaults. Other felonies carry statutes that can range from three to ten years, depending on the nature of the offense. Misdemeanors committed in this state must be prosecuted within 2 years from the date the crime was committed. There are also limitations for crimes against children that can range from 0 to 7 years. These limitations are established to ensure criminal charges are handled efficiently and in a timely manner. The limits also help preserve the integrity of evidence such as testimonies from witnesses that may become unreliable with time.

A summary of criminal statutes of limitation in Texas:

Code SectionCode of Criminal Procedure Art. 12.01.
Felonies                Murder: none.; Manslaughter: none.
Child sex abuse and other sexual assaults: none or 10 yrs.
Death caused by a hit and run: none.
Certain human trafficking offenses: none or 10 yrs.; Compelling prostitution to a child younger than 18 years old: none.; Compelling prostitution: 10 yrs.
Thefts involving fiduciaries or officials: 10 yrs.; Forgery: 10 yrs.
Injury to an elderly or disabled person: 10 yrs.
Arson: 10 yrs.
Misapplication of fiduciary property or property of a financial institution: 7 yrs.; Execution of document by deception: 7 yrs.; Money laundering: 7 yrs.; Certain tax crimes: 7 yrs.; Fraud: 7 yrs.; Identity theft: 7 yrs.
Credit card or debit card abuse: 7 yrs.
Exploitation of a child or elderly person: 7 yrs.
Bigamy: 7 yrs.
Other theft, burglary, and robbery offenses: 5 yrs.
Insurance fraud: 5 yrs.
Abandoning or endangering a child: 5 yrs.
Other felonies: 3 yrs.  
Note: For the majority of the crimes in this list, if the victim is under the age of 17 years when the crime is committed, the statute of limitations is typically extended from 10 to 20 years.
Misdemeanors2 yrs. from the date the crime was committed.
Crimes in Which a Child Is a VictimSexual abuse of young children: none.; Indecency with a child: none.; Prostitution to a child younger than 18 years old: none.; Exploitation of a child: 7 yrs.; Abandoning or endangering a child: 5 yrs.
Acts During Which Statute Does Not RunWhen the accused is absent from the state or when a criminal indictment, information, or complaint is pending.
Note: The day the crime was committed and the day of the indictment do not count toward the limitation period.
OtherThe limitation period for aggravated crimes (in most cases), attempted crimes, criminal conspiracy or organized criminal activity is the same as that of the underlying crimes. The limitation period for criminal solicitation is the same as that of the crime that was solicited.

State laws are always subject to change. While our goal is to provide the most current information available, please consider contacting a Texas attorney or doing legal research of your own to verify the state law(s) you’re researching.

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