"Statutes of limitations" are laws that set time limits on how long you have to file a "civil" lawsuit, like a personal injury 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 three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after you were hurt in a car accident, but in other states you may have two years. As general rule:

  • 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, and
  • Once the statute of limitations has expired or "run," you can't 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 doesn't cover everything. Also, 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

Note: 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. Also, you can scroll through the laws in this Chapter to find the statute of limitations for civil claims or "causes of action" not listed below.

Description

Statute

Assault and Battery, 2 years

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

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)

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)

Medical Malpractice, 2 years

Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 74.251(a)

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)

Criminal

Note: Most of the criminal statutes of limitations are in Title 1, Chapter 12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (Crim. P. Code). You 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.

Description

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)

Disorderly Conduct, 2 years

Tex. Crim. P. Code § 12.02

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)

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