Obstruction or Retaliation Lawyer in Austin, Texas
CONTACT US TODAY AT 512-457-5200
Obstruction or Retaliation is defined as intentionally or knowingly harming or threatening to harm another by an unlawful act in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of another as a public servant, witness, prospective witness, informant, or an individual who is trying to report a crime. It is also a crime to threaten to harm or harm a public servant, witness, prospective witness, etc. in order to delay their service.
The legislative purpose of the statute was clear. It was to protect police officers and other witnesses from legitimate threats and attacks by individuals to keep them from testifying or otherwise doing their job. In recent years, however, local jurisdictions like Hays County and Comal County have been charging Obstruction or Retaliation when individuals are arrested for offenses like public intoxication. These individuals were arrested because they were so intoxicated that were deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. During the process of arrest they usually resisted arrest and made drunken incoherent threats to the officer such as, "I am going to kill you" or harm you in some way shape or form. These people were in general black out drunk from partying on the square or on the river and had no idea what they were saying. When they awoke in the cell the next morning they had a pile of 3rd degree felony charges for Obstruction or Retaliation for each threat they made to each individual officer who was present during their arrest for public intoxication, an arrest they did not remember because they were black drunk. So an arrest for a Class C Misdemeanor went from being a pretty bad annoyance to something really serious, very fast, and the client has no recollection of it. Worst of all, the legislative purpose of the statute was not to protect officers from the drunken asshole or the clinically insane, who just ramble off anything that comes to mind, but to protect them from those that make legitimate threats to do harm. Unfortunately, in today's day and age it is getting harder to tell the difference, and it is getting harder to persuade prosecutor's and juries of this fact. Moreover, there is no statutory protection in the State of Texas for actions taken by individuals that are intoxicated. Voluntary intoxication in the State of Texas does not constitute a defense to a crime so essentially you have to hope for jury nullification. Fortunately, juries can still be reasonable and see that an individual that is black out drunk, who is otherwise a good person with no assaultive history, did not mean the insane threats he or she made to a police officer during a public intoxication arrest.
If you have been accused of Obstruction or Retaliation in Travis County, Hays County, Comal County, Williamson County, Caldwell County, Bastrop County, Burnet County, Bell County, or Lee County, it’s important that you retain a strong legal defense team. An experienced attorney will help you review your case, inform you of your rights, and present a well thought out defense to the district attorney, judge, or jury if necessary. Contact the Law Offices of Jason Trumpler today at 512-457-5200.
In addition to verbal threats, Obstruction or Retaliation also applies to posting threats/leaking personal info (phone numbers, addresses, etc.) of a public servant or their family online as a threat or retaliation for some public service they provided. For example, if you are under arrest and threaten to harm the arresting officer or his family in some way, you may be accused of obstruction/retaliation.
Even though most threats of this nature are made in the head of the moment, the court still takes the threat of retaliation very seriously.
Typically, Obstruction or Retaliation is a 3rd degree felony. Individuals convicted of a 3rd degree felony may spend between 2-10 years in jail and face up to a $10,000 fine.
If the alleged Obstruction or Retaliation is committed against either a member of a jury, or if it results in the harm of a peace officer (like a cop), the crime may be enhanced to the 2nd degree felony. Individuals convicted of a 2nd degree felony may spend between 2-20 years in jail and face up to a $10,000 fine.
In addition to fines, jail time, and prison time, a felony record can severely impede your ability to secure housing, employment, and lead a successful life. One important thing the prosecution must prove is that you intended to cause harm, and that harm did not happen accidentally. A strong legal defense can prepare the best possible argument for your case in court.
Contact Us at 512-457-5200
Jason Trumpler is an experienced criminal defense attorney with over 15-years experience who has successfully won/dismissed hundreds of cases. He practices in Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bell, Comal, Bastrop, Burnet, and Lee counties. Contact our offices today at 512-457-5200.