The law is a complex machine that runs on a series of rules, regulations and guidelines that are often a puzzle to the average citizen. But these laws are what provide you with your rights. Under the law, you are required to receive a fair trial, and you have the right to an attorney of your choice.
Although hiring an attorney is an important right that should always be taken advantage of if you find yourself at the center of a prosecution, knowing about the law, or at least its parameters, can make the legal process a little less hazy for you. Here, I would like to explain what a statute of limitations is.
The Maximum Time Period
The statute of limitations is from the time when the crime was originally committed to when prosecution is barred, which differs from offense to offense. Every offense that has ever been documented, from petty theft to grand arson, has a statute of limitations attached to it. This is a law which outlines the maximum time period given to prosecute an individual for a crime.
The Amount of Time
There really is no average amount of time. But all statutes of limitations are based on years. You wont find a crime in Texas that cant be prosecuted after only days or months. In Texas, the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor case of theft is set at two years. And the statute of limitations on a wrongful death suit is two years from the date of death.
Often times you will find that if you commit a crime, you likely wont be formally charged until a day or two before the statute of limitations expires. This is so that the prosecuting lawyers can gather all the information they need to adequately charge you. However, once the statute of limitations runs out, you can no longer be prosecuted for the crime.
Finally, keep in mind that murder has no statute of limitations - meaning that if you were to murder someone, and then 30 years later admit to it, you can still be fully charged and sentenced for the crime.