Interference with Public Duties
It’s clearly a crime to resist arrest or attempt to escape from a law enforcement officer. What you might not know is that simply interfering with law enforcement during the commission of their public duties is also a crime. In Texas, this offense is referred to as interference with public duties. A person can be charged with the crime if they interrupt, disrupt, impede or otherwise interfere with an officer performing their lawful duties. The offense does extend past law enforcement and can include fire fighters, animal control and other public servants.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for interference with public duties, we urge you to gain legal counsel. Without a strong defense, you could face up to a class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you may be required to pay expensive fines or even worse spend time in jail. Don’t be idle when your freedom is on the line and get in contact with a criminal defense attorney today.
Defense Lawyer for Interference with Public Duties in Austin, TX
Taking your charges seriously from the start will give you time to formulate a strong defense plan for your case. If you or someone you know has been charged for interfering with public duties, then we urge you get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney such as The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Attorney Kevin Bennett has years of experience, skills and resources he can apply to your defense. With his help, you can enter the courtroom confident and prepared.
Get in touch with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett by calling (512) 476-4626. We will set up your first consultation free of charge to discuss the details surrounding your charges. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett proudly represents the citizens and visitors of Travis County including Austin, Sunset Valley, Lago Vista and Lakeway.
Overview of Intereference with Public Duties in Texas
- What Constitutes as Interference with Public Duties in Texas?
- Penalties and Possible Defenses for Interference with Public Duties
- Penalties for Interfering with the Public Services of a Police Dog in Texas
- Additional Resources
What Constitutes as Interference with Public Duties in Texas?
In Texas, it’s illegal to interfere with the duties of a public servant while they are officially working. A person commits a crime if they interrupt, disrupt, impede or otherwise interfere with any of the following people who are lawfully executing their duties:
- A peace officer;
- A person employed to provide emergency medical services, which includes the transportation of the ill or injured persons while performing that duty;
- Fire fighters;
- An animal under the supervision of a peace officer, corrections officer or jailer and the offender knows the animal is being used for law enforcement, corrections prison, jail security or investigative purposes;
- The transmission of a communication over a citizen’s band radio channel, the purpose of which communication is to inform or inquire about an emergency;
- An officer with the responsibility for animal control; or
- Any person who:
- Has responsibility for assessing, enacting or enforcing environmental, radiation, public health or safety measures for the state, county or municipality;
- Is investigating at a particular site as part of their lawful duties;
- Is acting in accordance with policies and procedures related to the safety and security at an investigative site; and
- Is performing their duties or exercising their authority imposed under the Agriculture Code, Health and Safety Code, Occupations Code or Water Code.
Penalties and Possible Defenses for Interference with Public Duties in Texas
Interfering with the lawful duties of a public servant is a serious crime in the state of Texas. If convicted, you should expect to be charged with a class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalties for a class B misdemeanor include up to 180 days in county jail as well as a fine of up to $2,000. Thankfully, the Texas Statutes has outlined some defenses that would be considered admissible in court.
Admissible defenses found under Texas Penal Code Section 38.15 include the following:
- You were attempting to warn a person operating a vehicle of the presence of a police officer who was enforcing Subtitle C, Title 7 of the Transportation Code; or
- The interruption, disruption, impediment or interference with the alleged person public duties consisted of speech only
Penalties for Interfering with a Police Service Dog in Texas
Texas law provides protections not just for the human police officers, but the K-9 unit as well. It’s illegal in the state of Texas to interfere, taunt, or disrupt a working police dog. The crime is defined under the Texas Penal Code Section 38.151, which states a person commits the crime if they do any of the following:
- Taunt, torment or strike a police service animal;
- Throw an object or substance at a police service animal;
- Release a police service animal from its contained area;
- Enter the contained area of a police service animal without the consent of the handler. This does include placing food, water or any other object in that area;
- Engage in conduct likely to injure or kill a police service animal which does include setting up a trap for the animal; or
- Interfere with or obstruct a police service animal or interfere with or obstruct their handler in a manner that:
- Inhibits or restricts the handler’s control of the animal; or
- Deprives the handler control of the animal
Taunting, tormenting or striking a police service animal is a class C misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for the crime is a fine of up to $500. The crime is enhanced to a class B misdemeanor if the offender throws an object or substance at a police service animal. The penalties for a class B misdemeanor include up to 180 days in jail as well as a $2,000 fine.
The crime is a class A misdemeanor if the person does any of the following:
- Interferes with handler or police service animal so the handler has less or depleted control of said animal;
- Release the police service animal from their area of control; or
- Enter an area of control for a police service animal without consent from the handler
The maximum penalties for a class A misdemeanor include up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Injuring, killing or attempting to do either of these to a police service animal is a state jail felony in the state of Texas. If convicted, the offender will face up to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Killing or injuring a police service animal that permanently affects their ability to perform will result in second-degree felony. The statutory penalty for a second-degree felony include up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Texas Laws for Interference with Public Duties – Access the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about their offenses against public administration, which includes interreference with public duties. Enter the site to view the elements of the crime, penalties and other related offenses.
Travis County Courts – Visit the official website for the Travis County courts and find more information about the legal process. Access the site to find your court date, information about felonies or misdemeanors, and contact information.
Austin Attorney for Interference with Public Duties in TX
If you or someone you know have been accused of interfering with public duties, it’s imperative that you gain trusted legal representation. You could possibly be criminally charged and face upwards to a class B misdemeanor. Having a skilled attorney on your side can significantly raise your chances of reducing or dismissing your charges.
Call Kevin Bennett today for an effective and effective defense. He is a lifetime Austin resident with a passion for defending Travis County residents. Kevin Bennett always ensures that his clients are informed and have a plan of attack for their charges. Contact us today at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett for a free consultation.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett proudly accepts clients throughout the greater Austin area and surrounding communities including Rollingwood, West Lake Hills, Tarrytown, and Sunset Valley.