Dallas Obstruction Or Retaliation Charges

Life takes an unexpected turn when individuals find themselves under investigation or arrest, sometimes prompting them to seek retaliation against their accuser or to obstruct the ongoing investigation or legal proceedings. This could include threatening or harming the person who reported the alleged crime, a witness, an informant, or even the police, the prosecutor, or the judge on the case. Under Texas law, this behavior constitutes obstruction or retaliation and can lead to serious legal consequences.

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If you or someone you love has been charged with obstruction of justice or retaliation in Dallas or the surrounding area, it’s important to contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. At Varghese Summersett, we have decades of experience – first as prosecutors and now as highly-experienced defense attorneys – handling complex, high-stakes cases.

In this article, we explain Dallas obstruction or retaliation charges, the punishment, possible defenses, and the importance of retaining a highly experienced criminal defense attorney if you’ve been accused of this offense in North Texas.

Obstruction or Retaliation

Obstruction or Retaliation Texas Penal Code 36.06

Obstruction or retaliation is codified under Texas Penal Code Section 36.06. The first part of the statute defines retaliation, while the second part defines obstruction. The third part of the definition addresses publicly posting a public servant’s personal information.


A person commits retaliation if he or she intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm another in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of another as a public servant, witness, prospective witness, or informant; or a person who has reported a crime or intends to report a crime.

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A person commits obstruction if he or she intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm another to prevent or delay the service of another as a public servant, witness, prospective witness, or informant; or a person who has reported or intends to report a crime.

Publicly Posting Public Servant’s Personal Information

A person commits this form of retaliation if he or she publically posts the address or phone number of a public servant or a member of the public servant’s family or household with the intent to cause harm or threat of harm to the individual or his or her family.

The Difference between Obstruction and Retaliation

While often grouped together, obstruction and retaliation charges have distinct differences. Obstruction refers to the act of impeding or hindering a public servant or witness from performing their duties. This might include interfering with a criminal investigation or court proceeding. Obstruction occurs before something occurs, such as a police interview, court hearing or a trial.

Retaliation, on the other hand, involves harming or threatening to harm another person in response to their role in a judicial, legislative, or administrative proceeding. For example, threatening a witness because they testified in court or harming a public servant for performing their official duties can be considered retaliation. Retaliation occurs after the fact.

Punishment for Obstruction or Retaliation in Texas

In Texas, obstruction or retaliation is a felony. It is generally classified as a third-degree felony punishable by a prison term of 2 to 10 years and a fine up to $10,000. However, the punishment can escalate depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense.

Obstruction or retaliation becomes a second-degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison if either of the defendant:

  • threatened or harmed a juror; or
  • caused bodily injury to a public servant or a member of their family or household.

Public Servants in Texas

In Texas, a public servant is a person who is elected, selected, appointed or employed as a:

  • Government employee;
  • Police officer;
  • Honorably retired police officer;
  • Juror or grand juror;
  • Attorney or notary public performing a government function;
  • Candidate for public office;
  • Person performing government function under a claim of right, although not legally qualified to do so.

Examples of Obstruction or Retaliation

Examples of Obstruction or Retaliation in Texas

Obstruction or retaliation charges can stem from a variety of situations. Here are some possible examples:

  • Threatening to harm a witness if they testify against you at trial;
  • Threatening to harm the police officer who arrested you;
  • Sending a threatening letter or message to the judge presiding over your case;
  • Threatening to set fire or blow up the courthouse where your case is assigned;
  • Posting the address and phone number of the police officer who arrested you on social media;
  • Contacting a juror on your case in an effort to influence their decision;
  • Harming or threatening to harm an informant for providing information to law enforcement;
  • Interfering with the criminal investigation by intimidating a witness;
  • Threatening to harm the prosecutor on your case or a member of their family;
  • Sending anonymous letters or emails containing threats to a prosecutor, judge, or witness on your case.

Prosecutors take accusations of obstruction or retaliation extremely seriously. They will routinely seek maximum sentences for those accused of this crime, so it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney who can protect your rights and help you build the strongest possible defense.

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Possible Defenses in Obstruction or Retaliation Cases

At Varghese Summersett, we have extensive experience defending clients against felony charges. Some of the possible defenses for Dallas obstruction or retaliation include:

  • Lack of intent: The defendant did not intend to harm or threaten to harm another or did they know that their actions would result in a threat;
  • False accusations: Someone wrongfully accused the defendant out of revenge;
  • Insufficient evidence: The state does not have enough evidence to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt;
  • Coercion: Someone threatened or forced the defendant into taking an action they otherwise would not have taken.

We will thoroughly evaluate the facts and circumstances surrounding the accusations and build the strongest defense strategy available. Our goal is to challenge the prosecution at every turn and secure the best possible outcome on your behalf.

Speak with a Dallas Obstruction/Retaliation Lawyer Today.

At Varghese Summerett, our results speak volumes. We have had more than 1,100 5-Star Google reviews – a testament to our commitment and success fighting on behalf of our clients. Our team is made up of former prosecutors and board-certified criminal attorneys who have the experience, knowledge and skills to defend against even the most complex obstruction or retaliation charges.

If you are facing a Dallas obstruction or retaliation charge, contact us today at 214-903-4000 for a free consultation and learn how we can help.

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FAQs About Obstruction or Relaliation

Can I face both obstruction and retaliation charges simultaneously?

Yes, it’s possible. If prosecutors believe your actions meet the criteria for both offenses, they charge you with both counts.

What is the statute of limitations for Dallas obstruction or retaliation charges?

The statute of limitations, or the legal time limit within which a case must be filed, can vary depending on the type of crime. In Texas, for felonies such as obstruction or retaliation, the statute of limitations is generally three years. This means that from the date the alleged crime occurred, the prosecution has three years to file charges.

Can I get out of jail on bond if I’ve been arrested for obstruction or retaliation in Texas?

In Texas, most individuals who have been arrested for a crime, including obstruction or retaliation, are generally eligible to be released on bail. Bail is a monetary guarantee that you will appear for all court proceedings related to your charges.

The amount of bail and conditions for release are determined by a judge, who considers a variety of factors, including the seriousness of the alleged crime, the defendant’s past criminal history, their ties to the community, and whether they pose a flight risk or a risk to the community.

What does it mean if I have been indicted?

Being indicted in Texas means that a grand jury has determined there is sufficient evidence to formally charge you with a crime. This process is typically used for felony charges, which are more serious than misdemeanors.

The grand jury, which consists of citizens who are called to review evidence in potential criminal cases, does not determine guilt or innocence. Their role is to review the evidence presented by the prosecution and decide whether it’s enough to formally charge someone with crime and proceed to trial.

Once an indictment has been issued, the defendant will be formally charged and you will start having routine court appearances in an attempt to resolve your case. It’s crucial that anyone who has been indicted consult with a knowledgeable defense attorney as soon as possible.

Is probation possible if I’ve been charged with obstruction or retaliation in Texas?

Yes, probation (also known as community supervision in Texas) is a possible outcome if you’ve never before been convicted of a felony in Texas. However, it’s important to note that the final decision rests with the prosecutors if a plea agreement can be reached – or a jury or judge if the case goes to trial.

The fact finders will consider the specifics of the case, the severity of the crime, the accused’s past criminal history, the potential risk to the community, and several other factors when deciding on sentencing.

What should I do if I’m falsely accused of obstruction or retaliation?

Immediately contact an experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyer. We can help. Call 214-903-4000 for a free consultation today. The sooner we can get started on your defense, the better your chances of a favorable outcome

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