The Statute of Limitations on Arrest Warrants in Texas

By Sameca Pandova

An arrest warrant issues when the defendant fails to appear in court. While a statute of limitations applies in Texas to the amount of time before a party or the state may file charges, there is no expiration date on an arrest warrant.

Arrest Under Warrant

Texas defines a warrant of arrest in Section 15.01 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as a written order from a magistrate, directed to a law enforcement officer, commanding him to take the body of the accused into custody to be dealt with according to law.

Statute of Limitations Generally

Statute of limitations in Texas applies to the amount of time a party has to file suit. The statute of limitation varies greatly depending on the type of case. For criminal misdemeanors, under Texas Criminal Procedure Section 12.01 through 12.05, misdemeanors have a two-year statute of limitation. Theft, robbery and burglary carry a five-year statute of limitation.

As in all states, first-degree murder and certain sexual assaults have no statute of limitation; these charges can be brought at any time the state uncovers evidence, or decides to file based on existing evidence.

Unlikelihood of Bond

Since the accused failed to appear (which caused the arrest warrant to issue) when taken into custody on the warrant, the defendant will most likely be held in custody until such time as she is brought before the judge issuing the warrant, unless the warrant was issued with a specific purge amount as a result of a contempt charge. Where a warrant is issued with a purge or bond amount, there is a payment amount that will "purge" the warrant. Payment of the purge will allow the defendant to be released.

Statewide Application

A warrant issued in one jurisdiction in Texas (except warrants issued by mayors of an incorporated city or town) will extend to all parts of the state of Texas pursuant to Article 15.06.

About the Author

Based near Chicago, Sameca Pandova has been writing since 1995 and now contributes to various websites. He is an attorney with experience in health care, family and criminal prosecution issues. Pandova holds a Master of Laws in health law from Loyola University Chicago, a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Case Western.