Understanding Retaliation and Obstruction in Texas
Texas, similar to all other states, demonstrates a strong commitment to its legal system and law enforcement. The state places great importance on ensuring that victims of crimes receive prompt justice through its judicial system. Achieving this objective remains challenging, even without individuals intentionally creating obstacles.
The Texan legal system actively works to counteract those who deliberately interfere with and hinder the legal proceedings. The State of Texas strongly disapproves of individuals who take it upon themselves to disrupt the seamless functioning of the legal system. Consequently, charges related to retaliation and obstruction have been incorporated into the existing laws.
What is Retaliation
Obstruction involves the act of causing or posing a threat of harm to a public servant or witness before they take action, whereas retaliation refers to the offense of causing or posing a threat of harm after an event has occurred. Put simply, retaliation comes into play if the accused is alleged to have harmed or threatened someone who has already given testimony, reported a crime, served as a public servant, or provided information.
What is Obstruction
The offense of obstruction specifically pertains to the act of impeding or delaying the actions of individuals falling into the following categories:
- A witness
- A public servant
- An informant
- A crime reporter
The accused can employ various methods to obstruct the intended action, but it must involve causing harm or the threat of harm to the person whose action is being obstructed. Although the harm does not necessarily have to be physical, it must be unlawful in nature. The damage can appear in any of these manners:
- Financial harm
- Damage to property
- Wrongful termination
Engaging in any such action with the intention of preventing a public servant from performing their duties, such as hindering a witness from testifying, obstructing an informant from providing information, or preventing a crime reporter from reporting a crime, can lead to an obstruction charge.
Obstructing a Highway
If you face charges of obstructing a highway, the state’s attorneys have the burden of proving that you indeed obstructed a highway or one of the other specified passageways outlined in the law. Conviction is possible whether you acted alone or as part of a group.
You must show that you purposely, knowingly, or carelessly caused obstruction without considering the consequences. You don’t have to know you were doing something wrong, just being aware of your actions or acting carelessly about blocking something is enough.
Additionally, you can be convicted if you “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” refused to move after being instructed to do so by a police officer, firefighter, or any authorized person with control over the premises. However, for the request to be valid, it must be reasonable and not issued solely for the purpose of harassing you.
Due to the significant disruption they can cause to the proper functioning of justice and the potential interference with criminal investigations or trials, obstruction and retaliation are associated with severe consequences. Obstruction and retaliation charges are serious crimes, with fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment from 2 to 10 years.
Certain factors can increase the severity of charges for obstruction or retaliation, leading to harsher penalties if found guilty. The length of the prison term rises from 10 to 20 years.
The following factors are considered aggravating:
- Inflicting bodily harm upon a public servant or their family members.
- Threatening or causing harm to a juror.
No matter if the charges are second- or third-degree felonies, being convicted will label someone as a felon forever.
Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!
If you are facing criminal charges, it is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A hired criminal defense lawyer can provide you with essential legal advice, guidance, and representation throughout the legal process.
As an experienced criminal defense attorney we can review the facts of your criminal case, investigate the charges against you. And develop a strong legal defense strategy tailored to your specific situation. As well as negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and advocate for your rights and interests in court.
In addition, we can provide you with information about the potential indecent exposure consequences of a conviction. Including the possibility of jail time, fines, and other penalties. And work to minimize the impact of the charges on your life and future.
Overall, the criminal law justice system can be complex and scary. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can significantly improve the outcome of your case. Your lawyer can help you comprehend the legal process, outline your choices, and provide advice and support. They can also help you review any evidence gathered against you, prepare witness statements, and investigate any mitigating circumstances.