Texas Penal Code 42.05 – Disrupting Meeting or Procession
WHAT IS DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION IN TEXAS?
The Texas law against disrupting a meeting or procession prohibits obstructing or interfering with a meeting, procession, or gathering by physical actions or verbal utterances in violation of normal customs and rules of governance of a meeting.
WHAT IS THE DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 42.05. DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION.
(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, procession, or gathering, he obstructs or interferes with the meeting, procession, or gathering by physical action or verbal utterance.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION IN TEXAS?
Disrupting a meeting or procession is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in county jail.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION IN TEXAS?
Disrupting a meeting or procession, a Class B misdemeanor, carries up to 180 days in jail, and a maximum fine of $2,000.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION IN TEXAS?
A person charged with disrupting a meeting or procession may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction, for a maximum period of two years.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION IN TEXAS?
The First Amendment protection of free speech prohibits the government from punishing non-violent, unthreatening speech and expression. Thus, if a person’s speech or expression is protected by the First Amendment, he or she may not be charged with disrupting a meeting or procession.
- Is the Texas law against disrupting a meeting or procession constitutional? Yes. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the law in State v. Markovich as constitutional. In a different circumstance, however, the law might be unconstitutionally applied as regulating speech. A person charged with disrupting a meeting or procession may argue the law violates the First Amendment as applied if the person was merely engaging in non-violent, non-threatening speech or expression.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for disrupting a meeting or procession, a Class B misdemeanor, is two years.
DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION IN TEXAS
It is against the law in Texas to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, procession, or gathering by actions or words not protected by the First Amendment. Typically, this type of prohibited conduct will be prosecuted under other laws, such as disorderly conduct, or obstruction of a highway or passageway.
TEXAS DISRUPTING MEETING OR PROCESSION COURT CASES
The case law regarding disrupting a meeting or procession in Texas shows appellate courts upholding the constitutionality of the statute.
- In State v. Markovich, the defendant was charged with disrupting a meeting after continuously yelling “bullshit” and other protests over George Bush’s speech at the Texas Capitol. The defendant filed a pre-trial motion to quash, arguing the statute was unconstitutionally vague. The appellate court held, because a person of ordinary intelligence knows the type of conduct that is likely to impair the ordinary conduct of a meeting, the law was not unconstitutional.
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DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15
Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15+
Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.
Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.
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