There are laws that limit an individual’s ability to charge someone with a crime. Known as the statute of limitations, the laws make a timeline for filing charges against an individual. If you commit an assault against someone, the victim must file the charges before the time period passes. Failing to file by the deadline means that a judge could choose to dismiss the case.
The Statutes of Limitations for Assault
A statute of limitations gives you a set period of time to charge someone with a crime. Typically, more serious crimes have longer time frames. In some cases, crimes are so severe that they have no statute of limitations.
For instance, murder and manslaughter have no statute of limitations in Texas. The same is true of sexual assault or offenses against young children. Human trafficking is also exempt from the law.
One of the exemptions of the statute involves assault. However, it does not involve all cases of assault. The only type of assault that does not have a statute of limitations in aggravated assault. No matter how much time passes, an individual can always decide to file charges against the offender.
Unlike aggravated assault, misdemeanor assault does have a statute of limitations. In Texas, all misdemeanors have a two year statute of limitations. And all simple assaults are misdemeanors. If you commit a simple assault, the victim only has two years from the day of the incident to file charges. Once that date passes, the victim can no longer seek justice for the crime.
It’s worth noting that a misdemeanor assault and an aggravated assault are somewhat similar. Both acts involve threatening to or actually harming another individual. However, aggravated assault is much more serious. It involves serious bodily injury or using a weapon to threaten or harm an individual.
A misdemeanor assault does not involve a weapon. Furthermore, it does not involve serious bodily injury. Typically, it involves acts like verbal threats, offensive touches, and similar incidents. Poking or slapping someone can be a misdemeanor assault.
Why Are There Statutes of Limitations?
There are two main purposes of statutes of limitations. First,the laws prevent someone from holding a crime over your head for decades. If you commit an act that could be considered a simple assault, you don’t need to spend a lifetime worrying that your actions will come back to haunt you. The statute of limitations eases your burden.
Another purpose of the statute is to protect evidence. If a long time period passes before someone files charges, it’s likely that there is limited evidence of the crime. The evidence that remains could be in a deteriorated form. Therefore, statutes of limitations are in place to protect people.
If you have any question about the statute of limitations on assault, you should contact a criminal defense attorney in Fort Worth. They can help you determine whether your case was a simple or aggravated assault. Then, they can tell you whether or not the statute of limitations applies to your case.
What it Means for You
Once your incident surpasses the statute of limitations, you cannot be held accountable. Although someone could choose to file charges against you, it’s unlikely that they would result in anything. A judge is likely to dismiss the charges. Of course, the exception is for aggravated assault. You can speak to a lawyer to learn more.