It is against the law to interfere with the jobs of law enforcement officers, first responders, and a number of other individuals. This crime is called interference with public duties. If you have been charged with interference with public duties, you should consult with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your criminal defense lawyer will make sure that your legal rights were not violated before or during your arrest. In addition, your attorney will ensure that your legal rights remain protected throughout the duration of the case.
What is interference with public duties?
According to Texas law, an individual may be convicted of interference with public duties if that individual negligently interrupts or otherwise interferes with:
- A peace officer while that peace officer is fulfilling duties;
- An individual providing emergency medical services in the course of employment, including transporting sick or injured individuals;
- A firefighter while the firefighter is fighting or investigating a fire;
- An animal that is under the supervision of a member of law enforcement, if the individual knows that animal is being used for law enforcement purposes;
- The transmission of messages over a citizen’s band radio channel that is used to inform others about emergencies;
- Animal control personnel; or
- Those responsible for enforcing health, radiation, environmental, or other safety measures for a government entity.
What are the penalties for interference with public duties?
Interfering with public officials can result in injuries to others. For example, interfering with a firefighter as he tries to put out a fire could result in loss of life.
Interference with public duties is a class B misdemeanor. These crimes are punishable by up to 180 days in county jail. In addition, a fine of up to $2,000 may also be ordered.
Will a criminal defense attorney be able to defend me against interference with public duties charges?
Texas prosecutors must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. To prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor must show that a jury would, after reviewing the evidence in the case, conclude that the accused did actually commit the crime. If there is any doubt that the accused did commit the crime, charges should be reduced or dismissed.
In interference with duties charges, it must be proven that the accused acted negligently. Someone who acts negligently is aware of the risk that a specific result may happen but acts in such a manner that disregards that risk. If it cannot be proven that the accused acted negligently, charges must be reduced or dismissed.
Your criminal defense attorney will study the facts surrounding your arrest and will determine if your constitutional rights have been violated. For example, during your arrest, were you informed of your Miranda rights? You should have been told that you had the right to remain silent and that you have the right to an attorney. If not, your charges may be reduced or dismissed.
Additionally, if evidence was obtained illegally, such as during an illegal search, it cannot be used against you. If evidence that was obtained illegally is used to bring charges against you, those charges may not be valid.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney ensures that your legal rights are protected throughout your case.
If you need an attorney, contact the Hampton Eppes Law Group
At the Hampton Eppes Law Group, we are experienced in the Texas criminal justice system. Brian Eppes is a former prosecutor who knows what must be proven in a criminal case. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.