In our divorce case, my wife is trying to get my old girlfriend to press false statutory rape charges against me from when we were together over 10 years ago.
Is there a statute of limitations for bringing these false allegations against me?
Can that issue even be brought up in the divorce case?
Generally under Texas law, formal charges must be brought within certain time periods from the date of the alleged offense. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. Arts. 12.06, 12.07.
However, there is no statute of limitation for bringing the following charges in Texas: sexual assault of a child or aggravated sexual assault of a child, continuous sexual abuse of a child, and indecency with a child. Tex. Code. Crim. Proc. Ann. Art. 12.01(1).
Thus, if the victim was a minor at the time of the alleged offense than charges for sexual assault can likely be brought at any time.
On the other hand, for the offense of sexual assault when a minor is not involved, the prosecution must be brought within ten years from the date of the offense. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. Art. 12.01(2).
Please note that some exceptions to this rule may apply and by consulting with an attorney who practices in criminal law you can ascertain which time limitation would apply to your specific situation.
If you are convicted of sexual assault of a minor or statutory rape there are certain situations when this could be brought before the court in your divorce case.
Under the Texas Rules of Evidence a prior conviction can be used to impeach the credibility of a witness only if there has been a final conviction for the crime, it has not been more than ten years since the conviction, the crime involved moral turpitude or was a felony, and the court determined that the probative value of admitting the evidence outweighs any prejudicial effect.
However, it is at the discretion of the judge as to what evidence is permissible and what is not.
For more information please contact a Texas criminal law attorney. Please be advised that my answering of this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located in 18 states.
Jennifer Hankinson is a Staff Attorney in the Dallas, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell, where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Hankinson is licensed in the state of Texas. Ms. Hankinson received her bachelors’ degrees in both Finance and Political Science from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. She later received her Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, where she graduated Cum Laude.