Funeral Service Disruptions

Texas Criminal Law

The Funeral Service Disruptions crime in the state of Texas gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you picket within 1,000 feet of a cemetery or other facility three hours before and after a funeral. Learn more detailed information about the Funeral Service Disruptions offense below.

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Funeral Service Disruptions is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 9 “Offenses Against Public Order and Decency,” Chapter 42 “Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses.”

What is the current Texas law about Funeral Service Disruptions?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Funeral Service Disruptions in Penal Code Section §42.055 as follows:[1]

(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.

The offense is subject to the 42.04 free speech defense, requiring an order to disperse under certain circumstances.[2]

How can I be charged with Funeral Service Disruptions?

You can be charged with Funeral Service Disruptions if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 42.055(b) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the punishment for Funeral Service Disruptions?

A conviction for Funeral Service Disruptions is punished as a Class B misdemeanor,[3] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $2,000 and jail time of up to 180 days. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors

Legal References:

^1. Texas Penal Code §42.055^2. Texas Penal Code §42.04

(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.

^3. Texas Penal Code Section §42.055(c)

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