People who are charged with a crime may be angry, upset, or confused—often to the point where they want to take it out on whomever arrested them, testified against them, or informed on them.
Under Texas law, this is called obstruction or retaliation. Penal code 36.06 states that “A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm another by an unlawful act.” Those protected by this statue includes:
- A public servant (a person elected, selected, appointed, employed or otherwise designated as an officer, employee, or agent of government; such as a police officer)
- A witness or prospective witness
- An informant
- A person who has or intends to report a crime
Penalties for obstruction or retaliation
Even making a threat against a specific person or their family may be cause for an obstruction and retaliation charge. The legislature’s intent in creating this statute was to protect those who are either carrying out their jobs as public servants or who are bearing witness to or reporting a crime.
This extends beyond a shout of “I’ll get you for this.” For example, it’s also a crime to “post on a publicly accessible website the residence address or telephone number of an individual the actor knows is a public servant or a member of a public servant’s family or household with the intent to cause harm or a threat of harm to the individual or a member of the individual’s family or household in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of the individual as a public servant.”
The law is specific and the courts take it seriously. As such, an obstruction or retaliation conviction is:
- A third-degree felony
- Punishable by a prison sentence of two to ten years
- Punishable by a fine of up to but not exceeding $10,000
Whether a threat was acted upon or not, an offender has still committed a crime, can be charged with a third-degree felony and punished accordingly.
If you’ve been charged with obstruction or retaliation, get the highly qualified legal representation you need
Andrew Williams is a board-certified Texas criminal defense attorney. For you, this means you get representation from an attorney with “substantial, relevant experience in a select field of law as well as demonstrated, and tested, special competence in that area of law.” When your liberty is at stake, you need an advocate who is skillful and trial-tested. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your situation, please call us at 281-358-9111 or contact us online.