Texas Penal Code - PENAL § 36.05. Tampering with Witness

(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to influence the witness, he offers, confers, or agrees to confer any benefit on a witness or prospective witness in an official proceeding, or he coerces a witness or a prospective witness in an official proceeding:

(1) to testify falsely;

(2) to withhold any testimony, information, document, or thing;

(3) to elude legal process summoning him to testify or supply evidence;

(4) to absent himself from an official proceeding to which he has been legally summoned;  or

(5) to abstain from, discontinue, or delay the prosecution of another.

(b) A witness or prospective witness in an official proceeding commits an offense if he knowingly solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit on the representation or understanding that he will do any of the things specified in Subsection (a).

(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(5) that the benefit received was:

(1) reasonable restitution for damages suffered by the complaining witness as a result of the offense;  and

(2) a result of an agreement negotiated with the assistance or acquiescence of an attorney for the state who represented the state in the case.

(d) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, except that if the official proceeding is part of the prosecution of a criminal case, an offense under this section is the same category of offense as the most serious offense charged in that criminal case.

(e) Notwithstanding Subsection (d), if the most serious offense charged is a capital felony, an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.

(e-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (d), if the underlying official proceeding involves family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code , an offense under this section is the greater of:

(1) a felony of the third degree;  or

(2) the most serious offense charged in the criminal case.

(e-2) Notwithstanding Subsections (d) and (e-1), if the underlying official proceeding involves family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code , and it is shown at the trial of the offense that the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense involving family violence under the laws of this state or another state, an offense under this section is the greater of:

(1) a felony of the second degree;  or

(2) the most serious offense charged in the criminal case.

(e-3) For purposes of Subsection (a), a person is considered to coerce a witness or prospective witness if the person commits an act of family violence as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code , that is perpetrated, in part, with the intent to cause the witness's or prospective witness's unavailability or failure to comply and the offense is punishable under Subsection (e-1) or (e-2), as applicable.

(f) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.


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