Interference with Public Duties

Texas Criminal Law

The Interference with Public Duties crime in the state of Texas gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you interfered with the duties of a peace officer, a medical service worker, firefighter, investigator, animal control worker, or others trying to radio-in an emergency as described in the statute. Learn more detailed information about the Interference with Public Duties offense below.

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Interference with Public Duties is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 8 “Offenses Against Public Administration,” Chapter 38 “Obstructing Governmental Operation.

What is the law in Texas about Interference with Public Duties?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Interference with Public Duties in Penal Code Section §38.15 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if the person with criminal negligence interrupts, disrupts, impedes, or otherwise interferes with:

(1) a peace officer while the peace officer is performing a duty or exercising authority imposed or granted by law;

(2) a person who is employed to provide emergency medical services including the transportation of ill or injured persons while the person is performing that duty;

(3) a fire fighter, while the fire fighter is fighting a fire or investigating the cause of a fire;

(4) an animal under the supervision of a peace officer, corrections officer, or jailer, if the person knows the animal is being used for law enforcement, corrections, prison or jail security, or investigative purposes;

(5) 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;

(6) an officer with responsibility for animal control in a county or municipality, while the officer is performing a duty or exercising authority imposed or granted under Chapter 821 or 822, Health and Safety Code; or

(7) a person who:

(A) has responsibility for assessing, enacting, or enforcing public health, environmental, radiation, or safety measures for the state or a county or municipality;

(B) is investigating a particular site as part of the person’s responsibilities under Paragraph (A);

(C) is acting in accordance with policies and procedures related to the safety and security of the site described by Paragraph (B); and

(D) is performing a duty or exercising authority imposed or granted under the Agriculture Code, Health and Safety Code, Occupations Code, or Water Code.

How can I be charged with Interference with Public Duties?

You can be charged with Interference with Public Duties if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 38.15(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the punishment for Interference with Public Duties?

A conviction for Interference with Public Duties is punished as a Class B misdemeanor,[2] 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 §38.15^2. Texas Penal Code §38.15(b)

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