Official Oppression – Texas Penal Code §39.03

Texas Criminal Law

The Official Oppression crime in the state of Texas makes it a crime for a public servant to use their office to deny someone their rights, sexually harass or mistreat someone. Learn more detailed information about the Official Oppression offense below

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Official Oppression is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 8 “Offenses Against Public Administration,” Chapter 39 “Abuse Of Office.”

What is the current Texas law about Official Oppression?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Official Oppression in Penal Code Section §39.03 as follows:[1]

(a) A public servant acting under color of his office or employment commits an offense if he:

(1) intentionally subjects another to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that he knows is unlawful;

(2) intentionally denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing his conduct is unlawful; or

(3) intentionally subjects another to sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, submission to which is made a term or condition of a person’s exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, either explicitly or implicitly.”[2]

How can I be charged with Official Oppression?

You can be charged with Official Oppression if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 39.03(a)(1), (a)(2) or (a)(3), as described in the section above, have been met.

What is the punishment for Official Oppression?

A conviction for Official Oppression is punished by default as a Class A misdemeanor,[3] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to one year.

however, it is a third degree felony “[i]f the public servant acted with the intent to impair the accuracy of data reported to the Texas Education Agency through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) described by Section 42.006, Education Code, under a law requiring that reporting.”[4] Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors

Legal References:

^1. Texas Penal Code §39.03^2. Texas Penal Code §39.03(c)^3. Texas Penal Code §39.03(d)^4. Texas Penal Code §39.03(d)

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