Texas Penal Code - PENAL § 38.15. Interference With Public Duties




(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.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(1) that the conduct engaged in by the defendant was intended to warn a person operating a motor vehicle of the presence of a peace officer who was enforcing Subtitle C, Title 7, Transportation Code. [FN1]

(d) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the interruption, disruption, impediment, or interference alleged consisted of speech only.

(d-1) Except as provided by Subsection (d-2), in a prosecution for an offense under Subsection (a)(1), there is a rebuttable presumption that the actor interferes with a peace officer if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the actor intentionally disseminated the home address, home telephone number, emergency contact information, or social security number of the officer or a family member of the officer or any other information that is specifically described by Section 552.117(a), Government Code.

(d-2) The presumption in Subsection (d-1) does not apply to information disseminated by:

(1) a radio or television station that holds a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission;  or

(2) a newspaper that is:

(A) a free newspaper of general circulation or qualified to publish legal notices;

(B) published at least once a week;  and

(C) available and of interest to the general public.

(e) In this section, “emergency” means a condition or circumstance in which an individual is or is reasonably believed by the person transmitting the communication to be in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or in which property is or is reasonably believed by the person transmitting the communication to be in imminent danger of damage or destruction.

[FN1]

 V.T.C.A., Transportation Code § 541.001 et seq.





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