Accused of Sexual Assault Years Later: What’s the Statute of Limitations?Published: Feb 22, 2021 in Sex Crimes
Sex crimes are taken very seriously in Harris County, Texas. And any allegation of sexual assault will disrupt your life, relationships, and ability to live normally. This is all aside from possibly spending time in prison and sex offender registration. With so much at stake, it’s essential to take any accusation seriously – even if the alleged incident happened years ago.
It’s increasingly common for people to be accused of acts that allegedly happened years ago. Our clients often wonder if they can go to prison for something from the distant past.
If this happened to you or a loved one, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett right away. We understand how important it is to clear your name, no matter how long ago it was. Contact us to speak with an experienced Houston sex crime lawyer. These charges are unique and require a uniquely qualified attorney to deal with them. Call (713) 222-6767 for a free and confidential consultation.
10-Year Statute of Limitations in Texas
Texas has a 10-year statute of limitations for sexual assault. This means that charges cannot be brought if an alleged crime happened more than 10 years in the past. This allows people to avoid defending themselves from specific actions in the distant past.
The idea is that it would be unfair for someone to be put on trial. Witness memory fades over many years, and evidence disappears. The statute of limitations is different for every crime. For example, the following crimes do not have a statute of limitations:
- Leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death
- Human trafficking
- Certain crimes against children
Exceptions To the 10 Limitation for Sexual Assault
Most statutes of limitations laws have exceptions. As a result, sexual assault allegations from many years ago can still impact you. Some exceptions that apply to sex assault include:
- The Victim Was a Minor: There is no statute of limitations if the sex assault victim was a child. This is for minors under 17 years.
- Evidence of 5 or More Victims: There is no statute of limitations for those accused of numerous sex assaults. This is because there is a concern of a continued pattern of assault.
- If the Victim Was Disabled or Bound: This applies if alleged victims have mental or physical disabilities. There is also no statute of limitations if the victim was bound or restrained during the assault.
- If DNA Was Never Tested: Prosecutors can now pursue any sexual assault case if DNA evidence was never tested. This impacts old cases where a rape kit remains in evidence.
Let Us Help if You’re Accused of Sexual Assault
Statute of limitation laws are meant to protect people from unfair prosecution. Being prosecuted after many years can be challenging to defend. Witnesses can be hard to track down. It can be difficult for you to remember details from many years ago, and physical evidence can be lost over time.
Even if it’s been less than 10 years when a sexual assault case is being pursued against you despite happening long ago, be sure to speak with your lawyer immediately.
Depending on the facts and circumstances, your attorney may do the following to defend you:
- Seek Witnesses: A witness may be able to corroborate your story. It can be hard to find witnesses from many years ago.
- Speak With the Prosecution: The prosecution may have a lot of information to offer. Your lawyer can understand the case against you by speaking with them.
- Consult With Experts: Experts can provide valuable information regarding evidence in your case. Working with them may allow your lawyer to build a strong defense.
- Win at Trial: Your lawyer will have to win in court if your charges are not dropped. It’s essential to have an experienced defense attorney.
Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett
Contact your lawyer immediately if you are accused of any sex crime in or around Houston, TX. Your life can become challenging if accused. You may face a lengthy prison sentence. Texas law bars many prosecutions for sex assaults that allegedly happened over 10 years ago. But there are exceptions. Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney will help protect your rights.
Contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett. Sex crime accusations are not the same as convictions, and we’ll fight to have the case dismissed, reduced, or another favorable result.