Houston Criminal Law Blog

EXPERIENCED. AGGRESSIVE. HOUSTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp

I Raped Somebody Years Ago. Can I Still be Arrested?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure does not have a single provision on the statute of limitations for alleged rape cases. In some situations, sexual abuse and assault cases may not have a limitation at all, which means that felony indictments for rape may remain in forthcoming status indefinitely.
Chapter 12 of Title 1 in the Code of Criminal Procedure states that the following criminal offenses may be prosecuted anytime without regard to how much time has elapsed since the crime was allegedly perpetrated:

Understanding the Statute of Limitations Legal Doctrine

In common law jurisdictions, the prosecution of certain criminal offenses is required to be carried out before a certain period of time elapses. For example, if law enforcement agents in Texas are alerted by a confidential informant that an individual transported 2 ounces of marijuana on July 1st, 2014, police may have until July 1st, 2016 to arrest the suspect and turn him or her over to prosecutors.

Matthew Sharp CTA

The statute of limitations tends to be shorter for misdemeanors and less serious offenses that do not involve injury or damage to property. In most common law jurisdictions around the world, there is no statute of limitations to prosecute crimes involving the loss of human life; for this reason, murder and manslaughter cases are not supposed to “turn cold.”

In theory, the statute of limitations exists to protect defendants; however, victims of serious crimes and their families deserve to see justice at any time during their lives. For this reason, the laws of Texas do not include a statute of limitations for rape and the other crimes listed above.

Limitations on Statutory Rape, Reporting and Lack of Evidence

In Texas, the statute of limitations does not apply exclusively to the alleged commission of rape. There are also limitations on when the alleged sexual crime can be reported. If DNA evidence has been collected at the scene and it only matches the victim, detectives and prosecutors have 10 years to investigate and name a suspect to be brought before a judge.

Statutory rape is an offense that may not involve violence or lack of consent, but it is considered a sexual crime when the alleged victim is a minor. The exception to statutory rape in Texas is consensual sexual contact between a married couple even if one spouse is a minor. The statute of limitations on statutory rape in Texas is 10 years.

Getting Legal Help

If you have committed a sex crime or if you are being accused of doing so, then it’s important that you hire a criminal defense attorney ASAP. The faster you get your lawyer, the less likely you will be to go to jail or prison. Reach out to Matthew Sharp today by calling 713-868-6100.

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