Texas Penal Code 48.05 – Prohibited Camping

WHAT IS PROHIBITED CAMPING IN TEXAS?

The Texas law against prohibited camping criminalizes temporarily residing and setting up shelter in a public place without consent of the officer or agency in charge of the public place.

Texas Penal Code 48.05 - Prohibited Camping

WHAT IS THE PROHIBITED CAMPING LAW IN TEXAS?

Tex. Penal Code § 48.05. PROHIBITED CAMPING.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly camps in a public place without the effective consent of the officer or agency having the legal duty or authority to manage the public place.

(c) The actor’s intent or knowledge may be established through evidence of activities associated with sustaining a living accommodation that are conducted in a public place, including:

(1) cooking;

(2) making a fire;

(3) storing personal belongings for an extended period;

(4) digging; or

(5) sleeping.

(d) Consent given by an officer or agency of a political subdivision is not effective for purposes of Subsection (b), unless given to authorize the person to camp for:

(1) recreational purposes;

(2) purposes of sheltering homeless individuals, if the property on which the camping occurs is subject to a plan approved under Subchapter PP, Chapter 2306, Government Code, and the camping occurs in a manner that complies with the plan;

(3) purposes permitted by a beach access plan that has been approved under Section 61.015, Natural Resources Code, and the camping occurs in a manner that complies with the plan; or

(4) purposes related to providing emergency shelter during a disaster declared under Section 418.014, Government Code, or a local disaster declared under Section 418.108 of that code.

(e) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

(f) This section does not preempt an ordinance, order, rule, or other regulation adopted by a state agency or political subdivision relating to prohibiting camping in a public place or affect the authority of a state agency or political subdivision to adopt or enforce an ordinance, order, rule, or other regulation relating to prohibiting camping in a public place if the ordinance, order, rule, or other regulation:

(1) is compatible with and equal to or more stringent than the offense prescribed by this section; or

(2) relates to an issue not specifically addressed by this section.

(g) Except as provided by Subsection (h), before or at the time a peace officer issues a citation to a person for an offense under this section, the peace officer must make a reasonable effort to:

(1) advise the person of an alternative place at which the person may lawfully camp; and

(2) contact, if reasonable and appropriate, an appropriate official of the political subdivision in which the public place is located, or an appropriate nonprofit organization operating within that political subdivision, and request the official or organization to provide the person with:

(A) information regarding the prevention of human trafficking; or

(B) any other services that would reduce the likelihood of the person suspected of committing the offense continuing to camp in the public place.

(h) Subsection (g) does not apply if the peace officer determines there is an imminent threat to the health or safety of any person to the extent that compliance with that subsection is impracticable.

(i) If the person is arrested or detained solely for an offense under this section, a peace officer enforcing this section shall ensure that all of the person’s personal property not designated as contraband under other law is preserved by:

(1) permitting the person to remove all the property from the public place at the time of the person’s departure; or

(2) taking custody of the property and allowing the person to retrieve the property after the person is released from custody.

(j) A fee may not be charged for the storage or release of property under Subsection (i)(2).

WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR PROHIBITED CAMPING IN TEXAS?

Prohibited camping is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR PROHIBITED CAMPING IN TEXAS?

The punishment range for prohibited camping, a Class C misdemeanor, is a maximum fine of $500 and no jail time.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR PROHIBITED CAMPING IN TEXAS?

A person charged with prohibited camping may be eligible for deferred adjudication for a period not to exceed 180 days. If a person is convicted of prohibited camping, the only available punishment is a fine, and no jail time or post-conviction probation community supervision.

WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO PROHIBITED CAMPING IN TEXAS?

The statute does not authorize specific defenses to prohibited camping, but does contain certain requirements for police officers enforcing the law.

Unless a peace officer perceives an imminent threat to any person’s health or safety, the officer must, prior to issuing a citation for prohibited camping, make a reasonable effort to:

  1. advise the person of an alternative place to lawfully camp; and
  2. contact an appropriate official who may provide the person with information regarding human trafficking prevention, or other services that would reduce the likelihood of the person continuing to camp in a public place.
  • What happens to a person’s belongings after an arrest for public camping in Texas? If a police officer arrests and transports a person for prohibited camping, the law requires the officer to either permit the person to remove and take their property, or to store the person’s property so it may be recovered when the person is released.
  • Can you camp on a beach in Texas? Yes, within certain limitations set out by applicable city ordinances. Most Texas beaches have designated camping areas, and regulate hours during which camping may occur in other areas of the beach. For example, Galveston County enacted a city ordinance, Section 8-6, prohibiting camping between 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. in any area not designated for overnight camping.

WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR PROHIBITED CAMPING IN TEXAS?

The limitation period for prohibited camping, a Class C misdemeanor, is two years.

PROHIBITED CAMPING IN TEXAS

Prior to 2021, there was no statewide ban on camping in a public place, and the prohibitions were left to the authority of local governments. Texas law punishes camping in a public place as a Class C misdemeanor, and permits local governments to establish more stringent standards.

FAQs; Knowledge is power. Get honest answers now.

Glowing Client Reviews

Trey is the man! I hired him because I had overheard a county court judge mentioning how awesome of an attorney he is, so if an endorsement from a judge won’t convince you then I’m not sure what will. I sure do hope I never find myself in a pickle ever again but if I do, I would hire Trey in a heartbeat. He’s honest, transparent, doesn’t beat around the bush, and will work tirelessly so that your clean record stays clean and unblemished. 5 stars, highly recommend!

Joey

I recently hired Trey Porter Law to help our teenage daughter with a drug charge. In the state of Texas she was being charged as an adult which carried a much stiffer penalty. Trey is very responsive, helpful, knowledgeable and is always available to answer any questions or concerns via phone, text or email. He was able to negotiate on her behalf so it was a pleasant experience. I would highly recommend Trey Porter Law.

Wendy

Trey really helped me out. He was straight forward and professional, and really helped me in my case. I thought i was going to lose my job, but trey did everything in his power to help me keep my way of life, and still keeps up with me any details on my case.

I really appreciated all he did for me.

Juan

Trey is a phenomenal attorney that gets the job done right! He is dedicated to help his clients.

He made himself available and answered all my concerns immediately! I had faith in him and he continued to prove his expertise by helping me. I highly recommend Trey Porter!!

Binda

Trey Porter fought for me! I am a nurse and thought my career was over.

Very thankful I got Trey Porter involved. He responds to messages regularly and was very thorough.

He saved my career. Forever grateful!

Stevie

Mr Porter is the real deal. You get what you pay for these days. I know that from my personal business dealings. Attorney Trey Porter was no different.

He was prompt, professional and poised. I was charged with DWI, and Mr Porter got the charge dismissed. I could not be more pleased or thankful. If you get a DWI, hire the best — hire Trey Porter.

Alina

Read More Reviews

WE FIGHT FOR DISMISSAL

WE FIGHT FOR DISMISSAL

CHARGES DISMISSED

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.

CHARGES DISMISSED

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.

CHARGES DISMISSED

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.

CHARGES DISMISSED

DWI 2nd

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.

CHARGES DISMISSED

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.

CHARGES DISMISSED

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.

Contact Trey Porter Today

Request a free consultation

The stakes are high. Criminal charges can have devastating, lifelong consequences. During the free, confidential consultation, Mr. Porter will answer questions surrounding your legal matter, and discuss and identify potential defenses.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, the State is working on your conviction. It’s time to start building your defense.

Google Rating Avvo Rating