Has a police officer or detective wrongfully claimed that you interfered with public duties during an arrest or investigation? Did that police officer arrest you for the crime of Interference with Public Duties? It is critical that you do not allow an overzealous police officer to ruin your clean criminal record and put you at risk for losing your job and good name. The Hampton Law Firm has extensive experience in defending citizens of Tarrant County from criminal prosecution for crimes they did not commit. Call our office now to speak to Jeff Hampton!
What Is Interference With Public Duties?
If you have been arrested and charged with Interference with Public Duties, it is important to understand what the Tarrant County prosecutor will be required to prove in order to sustain a conviction against you. Under Texas Penal Code, Section 38.15, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office will be required to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
A person commits the offense of Interference with Public Duties if the person with criminal negligence interrupts, disrupts, impedes, or otherwise interferes with:
- a peace officer while the peace officer is performing a duty or exercising authority imposed or granted by law;
- 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;
- a fire fighter, while the fire fighter is fighting a fire or investigating the cause of a fire;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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
- a person who: has responsibility for assessing, enacting, or enforcing public health, environmental, radiation, or safety measures for the state or a county or municipality; is investigating a particular site as part of the person’s responsibilities; is acting in accordance with policies and procedures related to the safety and security of the site; and is performing a duty or exercising authority imposed or granted under the Agriculture Code, Health and Safety Code, Occupations Code, or Water Code.
What are the Criminal Consequences for a Interference with Public Duties Conviction?
The crime of Interference with Public Duties is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a term in the Tarrant County jail of up to 180 days and a fine not to exceed $2,000. Additionally, if you are convicted of this crime, a judge or a jury can assess a probation term of up to 2 years and require you to perform community service and complete various classes designated by the Tarrant County Probation Department.
Possible Defenses to Interference with Public Duties
The Texas Penal Code specifically states that it is a defense to the crime of Interference with Public Duties if the interference was done to warn a motorist that a police officer was attempting to enforce Title 7 of the Texas Transportation Code (i.e. catch them in a speed trap). In other words, don’t worry about a police officer bothering you for warning a fellow motorist that an officer has set up a speed trap.
It is also a defense to the crime of Interference with Public Duties if the interruption, disruption, impediment, or interference consisted of speech only. An example of this defense would apply if a citizen was arrested for Interference with Public Duties for arguing with the officer over the validity of a search warrant. In this instance, your speech is protected, regardless of whether it interfered with an officer’s arrest, search or investigation.
It is important to understand that a conviction for Interference with Public Duties can have serious long-term consequences and could threaten your future employment prospects. A conviction for Interference with Public Duties would result in a stain on your criminal record that would remain permanent, making this charge available for all future employers to see. As a former Tarrant County prosecutor and experienced criminal defense lawyer, I will take the time to answer all of your questions, thoroughly investigate your case and come up with a pre-trial strategy to seek a dismissal of your criminal charges and future expunction of your arrest record.
Call The Hampton Law Firm now for a free consultation and an opportunity to speak to me about the facts of your case and the options you have under Texas law. Call Jeff Hampton at The Hampton Law Firm at 817-877-5200.
Contact the Hampton Law Firm now to schedule a free consultation to determine your rights and legal options.