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Statutes of Limitation - Texas

"Statutes of limitation" are laws that set time limits on how long you have to file a "civil" lawsuit or how long the state has to prosecute someone for committing a crime. These time limits usually depend on the legal claim or crime involved in the case, and they're different from state to state. For example, in some states you may have 3 years to file a personal injury lawsuit after you were hurt in a car accident, but in other states you may have 2 years.


As general rule:
1. The time period begins to run on the date your claim arises or "accrues," like the day of the car    

           accident, or when a crime is committed.
2. Once the statute of limitations has expired or "run," you can no longer file a lawsuit (or be prosecuted

           for a crime).


Below are the statutes of limitations in Texas for various civil claims and crimes. The list does not cover everything.


NOTE: The laws may change at any time, so be sure to check the current laws and read them carefully, or talk to an attorney if you have any questions.

Civil
Most of the civil statutes of limitations are in Title 2, Subtitle B, Chapter 16 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code). You need to scroll through the page provided to see the code sections noted below. You can also scroll through the laws in Chapter 16 to find the statute of limitations for civil claims or "causes of action" not listed below.

Cause of Action                                                         Limitation                                                                    Statute

Assault and Battery                                                   2 years                                            Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a)

Breach of Fiduciary Duty                                       4 years                                            Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a)(5)


Contract (in writing, for a "debt")                       4 years                                            Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.004(a)(3)

Contract (oral or not in writing, for a debt)    4 years                                            Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.004(a)(4)

Defamation                                                                    1 year                                              Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.002(a)

* each time a defamatory statement is brought to the attention of a third person, a new publication has occurred, and  

  each publication becomes a separate action. Thus, the republication of a defamatory statement can still fall within

  the limitations period even though the original publication of the statement is time-barred. 


False Imprisonment                                                 2 years                                             Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a)

Fraud                                                                                4 years                                             Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.004(a)(4)

Enforcing Court Judgments                                 10 years                                            Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 34.001(a)

Legal Malpractice                                                       2 years                                              Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a)

Libel                                                                                   1 year                                                Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.002(a)

Misappropriation of Trade Secrets                    3 years                                               Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.010                   

Personal Injury                                                            2 years                                               Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a)

Product Liability                                                      2 or 15 years            Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §§ 16.003(a) and 16.012(b)        
Property Damage                                                         2 years                                               Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a)

Slander                                                                               1 year                                                Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.002(a)

Trespass                                                                             2 years                                              Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a)

Wrongful Death                                                              2 years                                       Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a) and (b)


Wrongful Termination - Workers                          2 years                                             Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a)

Compensation Retaliation

* If the plaintiff was  discharged, the cause of action accrues when the plaintiff receives unequivocal notice of the

  discharge or should have realized she was being discharged. E.g., Johnson & Johnson Med., Inc. v. Sanchez, 924

  S.W.2d 925, 928-29 (Tex.1996)(P could not have known that being placed on "indefinite medical layoff" meant she was discharged).

Criminal
Most of the criminal statutes of limitations are in Title 1, Chapter 12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (Crim. P. Code). You will need to scroll though the page provided to see the code sections noted below.


Also, you can scroll through the criminal laws (found in several Chapters in the Texas Penal Code ) to find crimes not listed below, and then use Title 1, Chapter 12 to find the statutes of limitations for those crimes.

Crime                                                                                 Limitation                                                                      Statute

Arson,                                                                                  10 years                                                         Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01(2)(F)

Assault                                                                              2 or 3 years                                            Tex. Crim. P. Code §§ 12.01(6) or 12.02      
Burglary                                                                                5 years                                                         Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01(4)(B)

Compelling Prostitution                                              10 years                                                        Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01, et seq.


Disorderly Conduct                                                          2 years                                                           Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.02

Drug Charges                                                                   It Depends                                                      Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01, et seq.

*If it is a “victimless” crime, which would be the case under a possession charge for instance, the statute of

  limitations is 3 years.

**If, however, the charge involves supplying a controlled substance to a minor, the statute of limitation does not

   apply.

***Furthermore, it is important to understand that the statute of limitation can be officially tolled or suspended if the

     alleged perpetrator is out of state, in prison or otherwise unable to stand trial. 


Kidnapping                                                                          5 years                                                          Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01(4)(B)

Manslaughter                                                                No time limit                                                   Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01(1)(A)

Murder                                                                              No time limit                                                   Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01(1)(A)

Murder, capital                                                              No time limit                                                    Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01(1)(A)

Rape ("Sexual Assault")                                               No time limit                                                   Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01(1)(B)

Receiving Stolen Property                                             5 years                                                             Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01(4)(A)

Robbery                                                                                   5 years                                                             Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01(4)(A)

Theft                                                                                         5 years                                                             Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.01(4)(A)