Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses

Sec. 42.01. DISORDERLY CONDUCT.

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:

(1) uses abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;
(2) makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;
(3) creates, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor in a public place;
(4) abuses or threatens a person in a public place in an obviously offensive manner;
(5) makes unreasonable noise in a public place other than a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code, or in or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy;
(6) fights with another in a public place;
(7) discharges a firearm in a public place other than a public road or a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code;
(8) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm;
(9) discharges a firearm on or across a public road;
(10) exposes his anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act; or
(11) for a lewd or unlawful purpose:

(A) enters on the property of another and looks into a dwelling on the property through any window or other opening in the dwelling;
(B) while on the premises of a hotel or comparable establishment, looks into a guest room not the person’s own through a window or other opening in the room; or
(C) while on the premises of a public place, looks into an area such as a restroom or shower stall or changing or dressing room that is designed to provide privacy to a person using the area.

(a-1) For purposes of Subsection (a), the term “public place” includes a public school campus or the school grounds on which a public school is located.
(b) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(4) that the actor had significant provocation for his abusive or threatening conduct.
(c) For purposes of this section:

(1) an act is deemed to occur in a public place or near a private residence if it produces its offensive or proscribed consequences in the public place or near a private residence; and
(2) a noise is presumed to be unreasonable if the noise exceeds a decibel level of 85 after the person making the noise receives notice from a magistrate or peace officer that the noise is a public nuisance.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor unless committed under Subsection (a)(7) or (a)(8), in which event it is a Class B misdemeanor.
(e) It is a defense to prosecution for an offense under Subsection (a)(7) or (9) that the person who discharged the firearm had a reasonable fear of bodily injury to the person or to another by a dangerous wild animal as defined by Section 822.101, Health and Safety Code.
(f) Subsections (a)(1), (2), (3), (5), and (6) do not apply to a person who, at the time the person engaged in conduct prohibited under the applicable subdivision, was a student younger than 12 years of age, and the prohibited conduct occurred at a public school campus during regular school hours.
(g) Noise arising from space flight activities, as defined by Section 100A.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, if lawfully conducted, does not constitute “unreasonable noise” for purposes of this section.

Sec. 42.02. RIOT.

(a) For the purpose of this section, “riot” means the assemblage of seven or more persons resulting in conduct which:

(1) creates an immediate danger of damage to property or injury to persons;
(2) substantially obstructs law enforcement or other governmental functions or services; or
(3) by force, threat of force, or physical action deprives any person of a legal right or disturbs any person in the enjoyment of a legal right.

(b) A person commits an offense if he knowingly participates in a riot.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the assembly was at first lawful and when one of those assembled manifested an intent to engage in conduct enumerated in Subsection (a), the actor retired from the assembly.
(d) It is no defense to prosecution under this section that another who was a party to the riot has been acquitted, has not been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted, has been convicted of a different offense or of a different type or class of offense, or is immune from prosecution.
(e) Except as provided in Subsection (f), an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.
(f) An offense under this section is an offense of the same classification as any offense of a higher grade committed by anyone engaged in the riot if the offense was:

(1) in the furtherance of the purpose of the assembly; or
(2) an offense which should have been anticipated as a result of the assembly.

Sec. 42.03. OBSTRUCTING HIGHWAY OR OTHER PASSAGEWAY.

(a) A person commits an offense if, without legal privilege or authority, he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(1) obstructs a highway, street, sidewalk, railway, waterway, elevator, aisle, hallway, entrance, or exit to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access, or any other place used for the passage of persons, vehicles, or conveyances, regardless of the means of creating the obstruction and whether the obstruction arises from his acts alone or from his acts and the acts of others; or
(2) disobeys a reasonable request or order to move issued by a person the actor knows to be or is informed is a peace officer, a fireman, or a person with authority to control the use of the premises:

(A) to prevent obstruction of a highway or any of those areas mentioned in Subdivision (1); or
(B) to maintain public safety by dispersing those gathered in dangerous proximity to a fire, riot, or other hazard.

(b) For purposes of this section, “obstruct” means to render impassable or to render passage unreasonably inconvenient or hazardous.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

Sec. 42.04. DEFENSE WHEN CONDUCT CONSISTS OF SPEECH OR OTHER EXPRESSION.

(a) If conduct that would otherwise violate Section 42.01(a)(5) (Unreasonable Noise), 42.03 (Obstructing Passageway), or 42.055 (Funeral Service Disruptions) consists of speech or other communication, of gathering with others to hear or observe such speech or communication, or of gathering with others to picket or otherwise express in a nonviolent manner a position on social, economic, political, or religious questions, the actor must be ordered to move, disperse, or otherwise remedy the violation prior to his arrest if he has not yet intentionally harmed the interests of others which those sections seek to protect.
(b) The order required by this section may be given by a peace officer, a fireman, a person with authority to control the use of the premises, or any person directly affected by the violation.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 42.01(a)(5), 42.03, or 42.055:

(1) that in circumstances in which this section requires an order no order was given;
(2) that an order, if given, was manifestly unreasonable in scope; or
(3) that an order, if given, was promptly obeyed.

Sec. 42.05. DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION.

(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, procession, or gathering, he obstructs or interferes with the meeting, procession, or gathering by physical action or verbal utterance.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

Sec. 42.055. FUNERAL SERVICE DISRUPTIONS.

(a) In this section:

(1) “Facility” means a building at which any portion of a funeral service takes place, including a funeral parlor, mortuary, private home, or established place of worship.
(2) “Funeral service” means a ceremony, procession, or memorial service, including a wake or viewing, held in connection with the burial or cremation of the dead.
(3) “Picketing” means:

(A) standing, sitting, or repeated walking, riding, driving, or other similar action by a person displaying or carrying a banner, placard, or sign;
(B) engaging in loud singing, chanting, whistling, or yelling, with or without noise amplification through a device such as a bullhorn or microphone; or
(C) blocking access to a facility or cemetery being used for a funeral service.

(b) A person commits an offense if, during the period beginning three hours before the service begins and ending three hours after the service is completed, the person engages in picketing within 1,000 feet of a facility or cemetery being used for a funeral service.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

Sec. 42.06. FALSE ALARM OR REPORT.

(a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly initiates, communicates or circulates a report of a present, past, or future bombing, fire, offense, or other emergency that he knows is false or baseless and that would ordinarily:

(1) cause action by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies;
(2) place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or
(3) prevent or interrupt the occupation of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, or aircraft, automobile, or other mode of conveyance.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless the false report is of an emergency involving a public or private institution of higher education or involving a public primary or secondary school, public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public service, in which event the offense is a state jail felony.

Sec. 42.061. SILENT OR ABUSIVE CALLS 9-1-1 SERVICE.

(a) In this section “9-1-1 service” and “public safety answering point” or “PSAP” have the meanings assigned by Section 771.001, Health and Safety Code.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person makes a call to a 9-1-1 service, or requests 9-1-1 service using an electronic communications device, when there is not an emergency and knowingly or intentionally:

(1) remains silent; or
(2) makes abusive or harassing statements to a PSAP employee.

(c) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly permits an electronic communications device, including a telephone, under the person’s control to be used by another person in a manner described in Subsection (b).
(d) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

Sec. 42.062. INTERFERENCE WITH EMERGENCY REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE.

(a) An individual commits an offense if the individual knowingly prevents or interferes with another individual’s ability to place an emergency call or to request assistance, including a request for assistance using an electronic communications device, in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals.
(b) An individual commits an offense if the individual recklessly renders unusable an electronic communications device, including a telephone, that would otherwise be used by another individual to place an emergency call or to request assistance in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the actor has previously been convicted under this section.
(d) In this section, “emergency” means a condition or circumstance in which any individual is or is reasonably believed by the individual making a call or requesting assistance to be in fear of imminent assault or in which property is or is reasonably believed by the individual making the call or requesting assistance to be in imminent danger of damage or destruction.

Sec. 42.07. HARASSMENT.

(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, the person:

(1) initiates communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;
(2) threatens, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of the person’s family or household, or the person’s property;
(3) conveys, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report, a false report, which is known by the conveyor to be false, that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury;
(4) causes the telephone of another to ring repeatedly or makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another;
(5) makes a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection;
(6) knowingly permits a telephone under the person’s control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section; or
(7) sends repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.

(b) In this section:

(1) “Electronic communication” means a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photo-optical system. The term includes:

(A) a communication initiated by electronic mail, instant message, network call, or facsimile machine; and
(B) a communication made to a pager.

(2) “Family” and “household” have the meaning assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.
(3) “Obscene” means containing a patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act, including sexual intercourse, masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus, or a description of an excretory function.

(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted under this section.

Sec. 42.072. STALKING.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, on more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct that:

(1) constitutes an offense under Section 42.07, or that the actor knows or reasonably should know the other person will regard as threatening:

(A) bodily injury or death for the other person;
(B) bodily injury or death for a member of the other person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship; or
(C) that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property;

(2) causes the other person, a member of the other person’s family or household, or an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship to be placed in fear of bodily injury or death or in fear that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property, or to feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended; and
(3) would cause a reasonable person to:

(A) fear bodily injury or death for himself or herself;
(B) fear bodily injury or death for a member of the person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the person has a dating relationship;
(C) fear that an offense will be committed against the person’s property; or
(D) feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, except that the offense is a felony of the second degree if the actor has previously been convicted of an offense under this section or of an offense under any of the following laws that contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense under this section:

(1) the laws of another state;
(2) the laws of a federally recognized Indian tribe;
(3) the laws of a territory of the United States; or
(4) federal law.

(c) For purposes of this section, a trier of fact may find that different types of conduct described by Subsection (a), if engaged in on more than one occasion, constitute conduct that is engaged in pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct.
(d) In this section:

(1) “Dating relationship,” “family,” “household,” and “member of a household” have the meanings assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.
(2) “Property” includes a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal, as defined by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code.

Sec. 42.08. ABUSE OF CORPSE.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, without legal authority, knowingly:

(1) disinters, disturbs, damages, dissects, in whole or in part, carries away, or treats in an offensive manner a human corpse;
(2) conceals a human corpse knowing it to be illegally disinterred;
(3) sells or buys a human corpse or in any way traffics in a human corpse;
(4) transmits or conveys, or procures to be transmitted or conveyed, a human corpse to a place outside the state; or
(5) vandalizes, damages, or treats in an offensive manner the space in which a human corpse has been interred or otherwise permanently laid to rest.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(c) In this section, “human corpse” includes:

(1) any portion of a human corpse;
(2) the cremated remains of a human corpse; or
(3) any portion of the cremated remains of a human corpse.

(d) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or both sections.
(e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor:

(1) as a member or agent of a cemetery organization, removed or damaged anything that had been placed in or on any portion of the organization’s cemetery in violation of the rules of the organization; or
(2) removed anything:

(A) placed in the cemetery in violation of the rules of the cemetery organization; or
(B) placed in the cemetery by or with the cemetery organization’s consent but that, in the organization’s judgment, had become wrecked, unsightly, or dilapidated.

(f) In this section, “cemetery” and “cemetery organization” have the meanings assigned by Section 711.001, Health and Safety Code.

Sec. 42.09. CRUELTY TO LIVESTOCK ANIMALS.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly

(1) tortures a livestock animal;
(2) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, or care for a livestock animal in the person’s custody;
(3) abandons unreasonably a livestock animal in the person’s custody;
(4) transports or confines a livestock animal in a cruel and unusual manner;
(5) administers poison to a livestock animal, other than cattle, horses, sheep, swine, or goats, belonging to another without legal authority or the owner’s effective consent;
(6) causes one livestock animal to fight with another livestock animal or with an animal as defined by Section 42.092;
(7) uses a live livestock animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing on a racetrack;
(8) trips a horse; or
(9) seriously overworks a livestock animal.

(b) In this section:

(1) “Abandon” includes abandoning a livestock animal in the person’s custody without making reasonable arrangements for assumption of custody by another person.
(2) “Cruel manner” includes a manner that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering.
(3) “Custody” includes responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of a livestock animal subject to the person’s care and control, regardless of ownership of the livestock animal.
(4) “Depredation” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.001, Parks and Wildlife Code.
(5) “Livestock animal” means:

(A) cattle, sheep, swine, goats, ratites, or poultry commonly raised for human consumption;
(B) a horse, pony, mule, donkey, or hinny;
(C) native or nonnative hoofstock raised under agriculture practices; or
(D) native or nonnative fowl commonly raised under agricultural practices.

(6) “Necessary food, water, or care” includes food, water, or care provided to the extent required to maintain the livestock animal in a state of good health.
(7) “Torture” includes any act that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering.
(8) “Trip” means to use an object to cause a horse to fall or lose its balance.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a)(2), (3), (4), or (9) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.092, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.092. An offense under Subsection (a)(1), (5), (6), (7), or (8) is a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.092, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.092.
(d) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(8) that the actor tripped the horse for the purpose of identifying the ownership of the horse or giving veterinary care to the horse.
(e) It is a defense to prosecution for an offense under this section that the actor was engaged in bona fide experimentation for scientific research.
(f) It is an exception to the application of this section that the conduct engaged in by the actor is a generally accepted and otherwise lawful:

(1) form of conduct occurring solely for the purpose of or in support of:

(A) fishing, hunting, or trapping; or
(B) wildlife management, wildlife or depredation control, or shooting preserve practices as regulated by state and federal law; or

(2) animal husbandry or agriculture practice involving livestock animals.

(g) This section does not create a civil cause of action for damages or enforcement of this section.

Sec. 42.091. ATTACK ON ASSISTANCE ANIMAL.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly attacks, injures, or kills an assistance animal.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly incites or permits an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor to attack, injure, or kill an assistance animal and, as a result of the person’s conduct, the assistance animal is attacked, injured, or killed.
(c) An offense under this section is a:

(1) Class A misdemeanor if the actor or an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor attacks an assistance animal;
(2) state jail felony if the actor or an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor injures an assistance animal; or
(3) felony of the third degree if the actor or an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor kills an assistance animal.

(d) A court shall order a defendant convicted of an offense under Subsection (a) to make restitution to the owner of the assistance animal for:

(1) related veterinary or medical bills;
(2) the cost of:

(A) replacing the assistance animal; or
(B) retraining an injured assistance animal by an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities as reputable and competent to provide special equipment for or special training to an animal to help a person with a disability; and

(3) any other expense reasonably incurred as a result of the offense.

(e) In this section:

(1) “Assistance animal” has the meaning assigned by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code.
(2) “Custody” has the meaning assigned by Section 42.09.

Sec. 42.092. CRUELTY TO NONLIVESTOCK ANIMALS.

(a) In this section:

(1) “Abandon” includes abandoning an animal in the person’s custody without making reasonable arrangements for assumption of custody by another person.
(2) “Animal” means a domesticated living creature, including any stray or feral cat or dog, and a wild living creature previously captured. The term does not include an uncaptured wild living creature or a livestock animal.
(3) “Cruel manner” includes a manner that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering.
(4) “Custody” includes responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of an animal subject to the person’s care and control, regardless of ownership of the animal.
(5) “Depredation” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.001, Parks and Wildlife Code.
(6) “Livestock animal” has the meaning assigned by Section 42.09.
(7) “Necessary food, water, care, or shelter” includes food, water, care, or shelter provided to the extent required to maintain the animal in a state of good health.
(8) “Torture” includes any act that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(1) tortures an animal or in a cruel manner kills or causes serious bodily injury to an animal;
(2) without the owner’s effective consent, kills, administers poison to, or causes serious bodily injury to an animal;
(3) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, care, or shelter for an animal in the person’s custody;
(4) abandons unreasonably an animal in the person’s custody;
(5) transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner;
(6) without the owner’s effective consent, causes bodily injury to an animal;
(7) causes one animal to fight with another animal, if either animal is not a dog;
(8) uses a live animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing on a racetrack; or
(9) seriously overworks an animal.

(c) An offense under Subsection (b)(3), (4), (5), (6), or (9) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.09, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.09. An offense under Subsection (b)(1), (2), (7), or (8) is a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.09, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.09.
(d) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) the actor had a reasonable fear of bodily injury to the actor or to another person by a dangerous wild animal as defined by Section 822.101, Health and Safety Code; or
(2) the actor was engaged in bona fide experimentation for scientific research.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (b)(2) or (6) that:

(1) the animal was discovered on the person’s property in the act of or after injuring or killing the person’s livestock animals or damaging the person’s crops and that the person killed or injured the animal at the time of this discovery; or
(2) the person killed or injured the animal within the scope of the person’s employment as a public servant or in furtherance of activities or operations associated with electricity transmission or distribution, electricity generation or operations associated with the generation of electricity, or natural gas delivery.

(f) It is an exception to the application of this section that the conduct engaged in by the actor is a generally accepted and otherwise lawful:

(1) form of conduct occurring solely for the purpose of or in support of:

(A) fishing, hunting, or trapping; or
(B) wildlife management, wildlife or depredation control, or shooting preserve practices as regulated by state and federal law; or

(2) animal husbandry or agriculture practice involving livestock animals.

(g) This section does not create a civil cause of action for damages or enforcement of the section.

Sec. 42.10. DOG FIGHTING.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly:

(1) causes a dog to fight with another dog;
(2) participates in the earnings of or operates a facility used for dog fighting;
(3) uses or permits another to use any real estate, building, room, tent, arena, or other property for dog fighting;
(4) owns or possesses dog-fighting equipment with the intent that the equipment be used to train a dog for dog fighting or in furtherance of dog fighting;
(5) owns or trains a dog with the intent that the dog be used in an exhibition of dog fighting; or
(6) attends as a spectator an exhibition of dog fighting.

(b) In this section:

(1) “Dog fighting” means any situation in which one dog attacks or fights with another dog.
(2) “Dog-fighting equipment” has the meaning assigned by Article 18.18(g), Code of Criminal Procedure.

(c) A conviction under Subsection (a)(2) or (3) may be had upon the uncorroborated testimony of a party to the offense.
(d) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(1) that the actor caused a dog to fight with another dog to protect livestock, other property, or a person from the other dog, and for no other purpose.
(e) An offense under Subsection (a)(4), (5), or (6) is a Class A misdemeanor. An offense under Subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3) is a state jail felony.

Sec. 42.105. COCKFIGHTING.

(a) In this section:

(1) “Bridle” means a leather device designed to fit over the head and beak of a cock to prevent the cock from injuring another cock.
(2) “Cock” means the male of any type of domestic fowl.
(3) “Cockfighting” means any situation in which one cock attacks or fights with another cock.
(4) “Gaff” means an artificial steel spur designed to attach to the leg of a cock to replace or supplement the cock’s natural spur.
(5) “Slasher” means a steel weapon resembling a curved knife blade designed to attach to the foot of a cock.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly:

(1) causes a cock to fight with another cock;
(2) participates in the earnings of a cockfight;
(3) uses or permits another to use any real estate, building, room, tent, arena, or other property for cockfighting;
(4) owns or trains a cock with the intent that the cock be used in an exhibition of cockfighting;
(5) manufactures, buys, sells, barters, exchanges, possesses, advertises, or otherwise offers a gaff, slasher, or other sharp implement designed for attachment to a cock with the intent that the implement be used in cockfighting; or
(6) attends as a spectator an exhibition of cockfighting.

(c) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor’s conduct:

(1) occurred solely for the purpose of or in support of breeding cocks for poultry shows in which a cock is judged by the cock’s physical appearance; or
(2) was incidental to collecting bridles, gaffs, or slashers.

(d) An affirmative defense to prosecution is not available under Subsection (c) if evidence shows that the actor is also engaging in use of the cocks for cockfighting.
(e) It is a defense to prosecution for an offense under this section that:

(1) the actor was engaged in bona fide experimentation for scientific research; or
(2) the conduct engaged in by the actor is a generally accepted and otherwise lawful animal husbandry or agriculture practice involving livestock animals.

(f) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (b)(6) that the actor is 15 years of age or younger at the time of the offense.
(g) An offense under Subsection (b)(1) or (2) is a state jail felony. An offense under Subsection (b)(3), (4), or (5) is a Class A misdemeanor. An offense under Subsection (b)(6) is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has been previously convicted of an offense under that subdivision.

Sec. 42.11. DESTRUCTION OF FLAG.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly damages, defaces, mutilates, or burns the flag of the United States or the State of Texas.
(b) In this section, “flag” means an emblem, banner, or other standard or a copy of an emblem, standard, or banner that is an official or commonly recognized depiction of the flag of the United States or of this state and is capable of being flown from a staff of any character or size. The term does not include a representation of a flag on a written or printed document, a periodical, stationery, a painting or photograph, or an article of clothing or jewelry.
(c) It is an exception to the application of this section that the act that would otherwise constitute an offense is done in conformity with statutes of the United States or of this state relating to the proper disposal of damaged flags.
(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Sec. 42.12. DISCHARGE OF FIREARM IN CERTAIN MUNICIPALITIES.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person recklessly discharges a firearm inside the corporate limits of a municipality having a population of 100,000 or more.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the person may be prosecuted under either section.
(d) Subsection (a) does not affect the authority of a municipality to enact an ordinance which prohibits the discharge of a firearm.

Sec. 42.13. USE OF LASER POINTERS.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly directs a light from a laser pointer at a uniformed safety officer, including a peace officer, security guard, firefighter, emergency medical service worker, or other uniformed municipal, state, or federal officer.
(b) In this section, “laser pointer” means a device that emits a visible light amplified by the stimulated emission of radiation.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

Sec. 42.14. ILLUMINATION OF AIRCRAFT BY INTENSE LIGHT.

(a) A person commits an offense if:

(1) the person intentionally directs a light from a laser pointer or other light source at an aircraft; and
(2) the light has an intensity sufficient to impair the operator’s ability to control the aircraft.

(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor was using the light to send an emergency distress signal.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor unless the intensity of the light impairs the operator’s ability to control the aircraft, in which event the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
(d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section or the other law.
(e) In this section, “laser pointer” has the meaning assigned by Section 42.13.

Frequently Asked Question's

Assault Family Violence

1. What’s the difference between “domestic violence” and “family violence”?

Not much. “Domestic violence” commonly refers to violence between adults who are married, but “family violence” as defined in the Texas Family Code is broader and includes individuals who are:
  • Related by blood or marriage
  • Current and/or former spouses
  • Parents of the same child
  • Foster parents and children
It doesn’t matter for the above groups whether they live together or not. But the definition also includes:
  • Roommates
  • Individuals who are or were in a dating relationship

2. What are the different kinds of charges for family violence cases?

Several different offenses can fall under the “family violence banner,” but the most common cases are:
  • Assault (offensive touching, sometimes a reduction from a higher charge) – Class C Misdemeanor, $0 to $500 fine
  • Assault Family Violence – Class A Misdemeanor, 0 to 365 days jail and/or up to $4,000 fine
  • Assault Family Violence with prior FV conviction – 3rd and/or up to $10,000 fine
  • Continuous Family Violence (2 or more incidents alleged in one year) – 3rd to 10 years prison and/or up to $10,000 fine
  • Aggravated Assault causing Serious Bodily Injury with Deadly Weapon with Family Violence
  • 1st Degree Felony, 5 to 99 years or life in prison and/or up to $10,000 fine

3. Does it matter if it was a punch or “just a push”?

Yes and no. Bodily injury means any “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” It can be as serious as a stab or gunshot wound, or as simple as pulling someone’s hair. The issue is “did it hurt?” or “did it cause pain?” Some felony offenses allege “serious bodily injury,” meaning “injury that creates a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, or [extended] loss or impairment of the function of” part of the body. The more serious the injury, the higher level the offense will be charged. And if the officers aren’t sure, they will usually err on the side of charging the higher offense.

4. What if I’ve been convicted of a case with a finding of Family Violence case before?

If you’ve already been convicted once before of a case with a finding of family violence, then the second arrest will be charged as a 3rd Degree Felony. A 3rd Degree Felony is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If the State can’t prove the enhancement (the prior case), they may still prosecute the case as a lower offense, usually a Class Assault Family Violence Misdemeanor.

5. I was issued an Emergency Protective Order. What does that mean?

An EPO can be issued on request from a police officer, an alleged “victim”, a guardian, or an attorney for the State. It may require you to not commit family violence or assault, communicate in a harassing or threatening manner, or go near a particular residence. An EPO can be effective for anywhere from 31 to 91 days, and it can be “replaced” upon request by a complainant with a standard Protective Order.

6. What happens if the complaining party doesn’t want to prosecute?

If the person who is alleged as the “victim” doesn’t want to prosecute, then he or she can file an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution with the District Attorney’s office. This can be done through an attorney or, sometimes, DA’s offices have their own protocol. This does not mean the case will dismissed – if the DAs feels they should go forward with the case or even if they can prove it without his or her testimony, they may still prosecute the case. But filing an ANP doesn’t hurt.

7. Can I still own a gun once if I plead guilty to Assault Family Violence?

No. If you are convicted of a Family Violence offense, like Assault Family Violence, you forfeit your rights to ever possess or transport a firearm or ammunition under federal law. If you violate the law, you will be subject to penalties under federal – not state – law.

Drug Offenses

1. What’s the difference between “possession” and “distribute” or “manufacture”?

“Possession” is the basic charge for any drug offense, whether it is marijuana or methamphetamine.  Proving possession requires a showing of “actual care, custody, control, or management.” To “distribute,” a person must deliver a drug in some way other than “administering or dispensing” it. But “manufacture” is the broadest definition of all, including the creation and altering of any drug (other than marijuana), by chemical synthesis and/or extracting natural substances. It can also include the packaging and labeling of a drug.

2. What’s a “penalty group” and how does it affect how I’m charged?

The legislature has divided controlled substances into 4 penalty groups, and each one has its own punishment range, depending on whether the offense is possession or manufacture and distribution, the amount of the substance, and generally based on the dangerousness of the drug itself. Some common drugs and their associated penalty groups are:
  • PG 1 – Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Heroin, Hydrocodone (over 300 mg)
  • PG 2 – Ecstasy, PCP
  • PG 3 -  Valium, Xanax, Ritalin, Hydrocodone (under 300 mg)
  • PG 4 – Morphine, Buprenorphine

3. How will the amount affect how I’m charged?

Charges are divided up by the amount involved, based on the penalty group. For example,  marijuana possession is charged as:
  • Less than 2 oz – class B misdemeanor
  • 2 to 4 oz – class A misdemeanor
  • 4 oz to 5 lbs – 3rd degree felony
  • 5 lbs to 2000 lbs – 2nd degree felony
  • Over 2000 lbs – 1st degree felony
For Penalty Groups 1 and 2 –
  • Less than 1 gr – state jail felony
  • 1 to 4 grams – 3rd degree felony
  • 4 to 200 grams (or 4 to 400 grams for PG2) – 2nd degree felony
  • 200 or more grams (or over 400 grams for PG2) – 1st degree felony

4. What is SAFP?

SAFP stands for the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment program.  This is an intense treatment program for probationers and parolees who need substance abuse treatment.   It includes an “in-prison” phase consisting of orientation, treatment, and then re-entry and relapse prevention.  Then there is a 3 month stay at a transitional treatment center, similar to a half-way house, followed by 9 months of outpatient treatment.  The program can last up to 30 months, depending on successful progress towards recovery and sobriety.  SAFP is perhaps the most intense drug treatment program available, but it is also considered one of the most effective.

DWI

1. I was arrested for DWI. What happens next?

Please remember that you have only FIFTEEN DAYS from the date of arrest to request a hearing on the potential suspension of your driver's license. If you do not request a hearing your license will be automatically suspended 40-days from the date of the arrest. In a typical case, the arresting police agency will send your arrest report to the District Attorney’s Office (“DA”). The DA will then file the formal charge against you in one our six County Courts at Law and you will receive a notice to appear. Generally, there is a four to six week time lapse between the time of your arrest and your fist court appearance.  The period between the arrest and the filing may be much longer in blood draw cases where lab results are pending.

2. How long will it take to resolve the charge against me?

The length of time it takes to resolve a DWI charge will vary. Each case is as unique as a snowflake based on the underlying facts as well as your goals and the prosecutor’s stance on your particular case.  Cases can be resolved as quickly as three months or as long as a year.

3. I failed or refused to submit to a breath or blood test. Is my driver's license automatically suspended?

No. If you request hearing through the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process within fifteen days of your arrest, your license will remain valid until such time as a hearing takes place. We will personally handle all aspects of the ALR process on your behalf.  At the hearing the State must prove certain facts. If they fail to do so, your license will not be suspended.

4. WHY REQUEST AN ALR HEARING?

The ALR hearing will likely be the only opportunity you have to question the police officer that arrested you under oath prior to trial. If a hearing is set our attorneys will compel the State's lawyers to turn over all the evidence they intend to use against you at the hearing. This will include all police reports and frequently breath or blood test results. Also, unless strategy suggests otherwise, our attorneys will require the presence of the arresting officer at your hearing. The ALR hearing is a tremendous opportunity to test the strength of the State's case against you and to look for weaknesses in their case. At the ALR hearing we will be looking for ways to challenge all aspects of the state's case in an effort to maintain your right to drive. By way of example only:
  • Did the police stop your vehicle in violation of the law?
  • Did the police properly perform the HGN test according to their training?
  • Did the police properly administer the other Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in accordance with their training and the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration?
  • Do the recorded police observations concerning alleged intoxication rise to the level of probable cause?
  • Was there a valid refusal of a breath or blood test?
  • Did the police comply with the observation period prior to requesting a breath test?
  • Was discovery provided in a timely manner by the State's lawyers?
  • In blood test cases, is there proof that shows that the blood test was taken in a sanitary place, and by a qualified person?
  • In a Chapter 524 case, is there admissible, sufficient proof of operation?
  • Did the police provide any erroneous or extra statutory advice concerning the consequences of refusing or submitting to a breath test.
If you prevail at the ALR hearing the civil case is dismissed and you WILL RETAIN YOUR RIGHT TO DRIVE.

5. What happens if my license is suspended?

If your license is suspended you will likely be able to petition the court for an Occupational Driver's License (ODL). An ODL is a restricted driver's license that will allow you to drive up to twelve hours a day.

6. Why do I need an attorney who focuses his practice on DWI defense?

Defending DWI cases properly requires intricate knowledge of the applicable law; the science involved in breath, and the procedure used by the police to obtain and evaluate evidence in a DWI case. Most attorneys, even those who practice criminal law, do not focus on DWI defense. An experienced DWI attorney may see defenses that may be overlooked by some other attorney. In selecting a DWI attorney, just a few questions to consider are:
  • Does the attorney have experience and success trying DWI cases?
  • Can the attorney explain in clear terms the basic operation of the breath testing device known as the Intoxilyzer 5000?
  • Does the attorney remain current on DWI focused continuing legal education?
  • What specific strategy does the attorney plan to advance in your ALR hearing?
  • Does the attorney try blood draw cases to a jury?

7. I refused to submit to the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, am I in trouble?

No. You have a lawful right to refuse to submit to any field sobriety test, including the One Leg Stand, the Walk and Turn, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, and the Preliminary Breath Test. You may also refuse to submit to the Breath Test, however your refusal may trigger certain consequences for your driver's license.

8. I am guilty, do I still need a lawyer?

The short answer is yes. Even a first offense DWI carries a potential punishment range of up to one hundred eighty days in the County Jail and up to a $2,000 fine. Even if you are sure that you are factually "guilty" you should still seriously consider an experienced DWI lawyer who knows the law, the science, and the ins and outs of the court system. First and foremost, we will always force the State's Attorney's to turn over ALL of the evidence to me. The evidence should include, at a minimum, all of the police generated documents, the DVD or video of both the roadside and Intoxilyzer room, and witness statements, the Intoxilyzer breath testing slip, and a lab report in blood test cases. Only when all of the evidence is available can you make intelligent decision about how to proceed. Even if you feel that you were intoxicated, and experienced DWI attorney should be looking at issues such as:
  • How do you look on video?
  • Was the breath or blood evidence obtained lawfully?
  • Was the breath or blood evidence obtained in such a way that its analytical reliability or validity may be compromised?
  • Was the stop of your car by police lawful?
  • Did the police officer administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests correctly?
  • Does the police report contain internal contradictions, or is it contradicted by the video?
  • Will the State be able to locate and secure the attendance of the witnesses at trial?
So, even if you think you are guilty, do yourself a favor and hire an experienced DWI attorney who can analyze your case for weaknesses that may benefit you.

9. Am I able to obtain a Deferred Adjudication for a Driving While Intoxicated Charge?

Not under the current state of the law. However legislation was introduced recently introduced which would authorize people charged with a first driving while intoxicated case in Texas to receive deferred adjudication.  The legislation failed, however it may be raised again at a future date in the Legislature. In a deferred adjudication situation, no judicial finding of guilt is made and and the end of the deferral period the case is dismissed.

10. When would I need SR-22 Insurance?

Ordinarily, SR-22 insurance will be required after a DWI conviction or when a person needs an occupational driver's license due to a driver's license suspension. Frequently the suspension is the result of a DWI conviction or an ALR suspension. You may obtain SR-22 insurance by contacting your own insurance company or by contacting another agency. Our office regularly recommends two separate agencies that have provided excellent service to our clients.

Theft Laws

1. I was arrested for Theft, what happens next?

The State typically files a criminal case within 1-2 months. Theft cases can range from a Class C Misdemeanor all the way to a First Degree Felony. The level of offense will depend on the value of what is alleged to have been stolen. Misdemeanor Theft is the most common form of Theft prosecuted in Collin County. Class C Theft (property less than $50), Class B Theft (property $50 - $500); Class A Theft (property $500 - $1,500). Felony Theft involves property valued at $1,500 or more.

2. What are the possible punishments for Misdemeanor Theft?

Potential punishment increases with each degree of theft:
  • Class C: $0 - $500 fine
  • Class B : 0 days  – 180 days in jail and/or $0 - $2,000 fine
  • Class A: 0 days – 1 year in jail and/or $0 - $4,000 fine
The vast majority of Theft cases resolved by a plea or finding of guilt result in some form of probation. Misdemeanor probation can last up to 24 months and can include a wide array of probation terms and conditions, including payment of hefty fines and fees.

3. How will a Theft case affect my record?

Theft is a crime of moral turpitude. If you are convicted of a theft offense, it will remain on your record for life. Unlike some criminal offenses, a Theft conviction will usually raise the concern or disapproval of a current or potential employer.

4. Is there a way to keep a Theft case off my record

There are a few of ways to keep a Theft off your record. The likelihood of doing this will depend upon a variety of factors, including the circumstances of the case and the person who is accused of committing Theft. 

5. What happens at my first court appearance?

The first appearance is more like a work session than anything else. It is an opportunity for your attorney to meet with the prosecutor and discuss the case. Typically, the prosecutor will have a police report, video, and witness statements to share with your attorney along with an initial recommendation for a punishment that the you can receive in exchange for a guilty plea. The first appearance date is usually concluded by selecting another appearance date.

6. What evidence is there that I stole something?

In a shoplifting case, there is usually one or more store employee who claim to have seen something take place inside the store. Frequently, a shoplifting case will involve camera footage shot from one or more angles. Depending upon the circumstances, the police may have conducted further investigation when they arrived, but they don’t always. The State does not need a police officer to testify to prove their case.

7. A store employee was harassing and humiliating to me, did he violate my rights?

Many places of business employ a loss prevention department. These are people who can be dressed up like officers or in plain clothes secretly watching customers. The law allows these people to use limited force to prevent shoplifting. They may grab you, detain you, and question you until the police come. They are not required to play by the same rules that police do because the law considers them to be private, as opposed to government, entities… therefore their thoughtless conduct rarely negates an arrest – but judges and juries have little tolerance for such conduct by store employees and may give them little credibility as witnesses.

8. Why am I in trouble when my friend did it?

The law allows the State to try and put you on the hook for the conduct of another person. Specifically, the law says “A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another if, acting with the intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense, he solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the person to commit the offense.” However, mere presence alone will not make someone a party to the offense. In this type of case, the prosecution has the burden to show you did something to affirmatively aid the person committing the theft.  Mere presence alone is not enough.

9. How did they come up with a dollar amount greater than what was on the sticker?

The law also allows the State to try and prove a dollar amount that varies from the sticker price. Specifically, the law says that “the value of the property taken is the fair market value of that property at the time and place of the offense,” and “fair market value is . . . the amount the property would sell for in cash, giving a reasonable time for selling it.”  Merchants are aware of the statutory amounts, and it’s not uncommon for them to attempt to find creative ways to ‘pile-on’ the price.  This is a specific area a trained attorney knows to attack.

10. Is there a link between shoplifting and depression?

Studies have shown that there is a link between shoplifting and depression especially for middle-aged women. While this may not be a circumstance which leads to a jury finding someone not guilty, it is something to consider when talking about punishment.

All FAQ's

Contact Us
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.