Cockfighting: Texas Penal Code §42.105

Texas Criminal Law

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The Texas Cockfighting law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you caused a cock (meaning a male fowl of any kind) to fight with another cock, or owned a property where cockfighting was allowed, or participated in gambling on cockfighting, owned or trained a cock to fight, owned equipment that would be used in cockfighting, or attended a cockfight

We mostly see these cases prosecuted as a result of a well-coordinated sting. Typically, mass arrests will follow the sting operation.

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The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 42.105. The legislature did not update this law in 2023. In fact, this law has not been amended since 2011.

The Penal Code codifies the Texas Cockfighting law under Title 9 “Offenses Against Public Order and Decency,” Chapter 42 “Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Cockfighting below.

What is the current Texas law about Cockfighting?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Cockfighting in Penal Code Section §42.105 as follows:[1]

(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.

How can I be charged with a Cockfighting offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Cockfighting in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 42.105(a)(1), (2), (3), (4), (5) or (6), as described in the section above have been met.

What is the statute of limitation for Cockfighting in Texas?

Misdemeanor level Cockfighting charges have a two-year limitations period.[2] Felony-level offenses have a three-year limitations period.[3]

What is the penalty for a Texas Cockfighting offense?

If the offense falls under subsection (b)(3), (4) or (5), or if the actor has been previously convicted of a (b)(6) violation, then a conviction for Cockfighting in Texas is punished as a Class A misdemeanor,[4] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to 1 year.

If the offense falls under subsection (b)(1) or (b)(2), then a conviction for Cockfighting in Texas is punished as a State Jail Felony,[5] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and state jail time of up to two years.

If the offense falls under subsection (b)(6), and it is a first conviction under that subsection, then a conviction for Cockfighting in Texas is punished as a Class C misdemeanor,[6] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $500. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors here.

Can you get probation for Cockfighting in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Cockfighting, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[7]

Note, however, that no matter the offense, neither judges nor juries may recommend community supervision for any suspended sentence of over 10 years.[8] Also, judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.[9]

What level of crime is Cockfighting in Texas?

The Cockfighting offense is classified as either a Class C misdemeanor, a Class A misdemeanor or a state jail felony, depending on the circumstances.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.


^1. Texas Penal Code §42.105. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. Code of Criminal Procedure 12.02(a)^3. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(9)^4. Texas Penal Code §42.105(g)^5. Texas Penal Code §42.105(g)^6. Texas Penal Code §42.105(g)^7. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^8. Art. 42A.053(c), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure^9. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure

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