When a criminal offense occurs, the charges must be brought within a specific period of time to ensure the prompt prosecution of the crime. As the amount of time between the criminal event and the prosecution of the charges grows larger, memories may fade and crucial evidence can be lost. The statute of limitations serves as a procedural rule that aims to keep defendants from a severely delayed (and potentially unfair) prosecution. Let’s take a look at how the statute of limitations applies to assaultive offenses in Texas.
Statute of Limitations for Felony 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.
Texas Statute of Limitations for Misdemeanor Offenses
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.
Evaluating Your Legal Options in Pearland
If you are uncertain whether you will face criminal charges for an assaultive offense in the Pearland or Houston area, discuss your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your legal options. Simply discussing your concerns with a trusted legal professional can help you feel more informed and in control of your situation, as you’ll be more prepared to face a variety of outcomes.
Interested in learning more about assaultive offenses in Pearland or the surrounded areas? Contact the Law Office of Keith G. Allen, PLLC today at (832) 230-0075 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense lawyer.