Texas Penal Code 42.091 – Attack on Assistance Animal
WHAT IS ATTACK ON ASSISTANCE ANIMAL IN TEXAS?
The Texas law against attacking an assistance animal prohibits intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injuring or killing a service animal, or inciting or permitting a person’s own animal to attack another’s service animal.
- What is a service animal, or assistance animal? Texas law defines a service animal and assistance animal as a canine specially trained or equipped to help a person with a disability, and that is used by a person with a disability.
WHAT IS THE ATTACK ON ASSISTANCE ANIMAL LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 42.091. ATTACK ON ASSISTANCE ANIMAL.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly attacks, injures, or kills an assistance animal.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly incites or permits an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor to attack, injure, or kill an assistance animal and, as a result of the person’s conduct, the assistance animal is attacked, injured, or killed.
(c) An offense under this section is a:
(1) Class A misdemeanor if the actor or an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor attacks an assistance animal;
(2) state jail felony if the actor or an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor injures an assistance animal; or
(3) felony of the third degree if the actor or an animal owned by or otherwise in the custody of the actor kills an assistance animal.
(d) A court shall order a defendant convicted of an offense under Subsection (a) to make restitution to the owner of the assistance animal for:
(1) related veterinary or medical bills;
(2) the cost of:
(A) replacing the assistance animal; or
(B) retraining an injured assistance animal by an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities as reputable and competent to provide special equipment for or special training to an animal to help a person with a disability; and
(3) any other expense reasonably incurred as a result of the offense.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR ATTACK ON ASSISTANCE ANIMAL IN TEXAS?
The penalty classification for attacking an assistance animal depends on the person’s conduct, and damage caused to the attacked animal.
- Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail, if:
- the person or an animal in the person’s custody attacks an assistance animal without injuring or killing the animal;
- State jail felony, punishable by 180 days to two years in a state jail facility, if:
- the person or an animal in the person’s custody injures an assistance animal;
- Third degree felony, punishable by two to ten years in prison, if:
- the person or an animal in the person’s custody kills an assistance animal.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR ATTACK ON ASSISTANCE ANIMAL IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for attacking an assistance animal depends on the damage caused to the attacked animal.
- Third degree felony: two to ten years in prison, maximum $10,000 fine;
- State jail felony: 180 days to two years in a state jail facility, maximum $10,000 fine;
- Class A misdemeanor: up to one year in jail, maximum $4,000 fine.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR ATTACK ON ASSISTANCE ANIMAL IN TEXAS?
A person charged with attack on an assistance animal may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction. Community supervision for a Class A misdemeanor may not exceed two years.
The period of community supervision for a state jail felony ranges from two to five years, with the possibility of extending supervision for up to ten years. Community supervision for a third degree felony may not exceed ten years.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO ATTACK ON ASSISTANCE ANIMAL IN TEXAS?
The statute does not authorize specific defenses to attacking an assistance animal. A person accused thereof may attempt to negate at least one of the elements the State must prove at trial.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR ATTACK ON ASSISTANCE ANIMAL IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for attacking an assistance animal categorized as a misdemeanor is two years. If classified as a felony, the limitation period is three years.
ATTACK ON ASSISTANCE ANIMAL IN TEXAS
Texas law protects specially trained service animals to assist people with disabilities in daily tasks, including mobility assistance for the blind. The law against attacking an assistance animal provides a specific penalty if a person or a person’s dog attacks a service animal, and requires payment of restitution for veterinary or medical bills, and the cost of replacing or retraining a service animal.
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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.
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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.
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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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