Panhandling in Fort Worth

While there is no statewide prohibition against panhandling in Texas, publicly asking for money or assistance can be illegal under certain circumstances – specifically, if it considered “aggressive.”  Many cities have enacted ordinances that prohibit panhandling in certain forms which can be punished as a misdemeanor.

What are the Types of Panhandling in Texas?

The First Amendment prohibits an outright ban of all panhandling, so cities have crafted ordinances they hope will withstand scrutiny. For instance, the City of Fort Worth prohibits solicitation, begging, and panhandling when:

  • the solicitor is using violent or threatening gestures;
  • the solicitor continues after having been told no;
  • the solicitor blocks the passages of vehicles or pedestrians;
  • people are standing in line for tickets, entry into a building, or waiting in line for any other purpose;
  • soliciting from anyone less than 16 years old
  • the solicitor is within 20 feet of:
    • an ATM
    • a bank entrance
    • a parking meter
    • a public parking garage
    • a marked crosswalk
    • an entrance of a commercial or government building etc.

Many cities across Texas have similar ordinances, including:

Dallas: Sec. 31-35. Solicitation by Coercion

San Antonio: Sec. 21-29 Aggressive Solicitation

Houston: Sec. 28-46 Aggressive Panhandling

What is the Punishment for Violating a Panhandling Ordinance?

The punishment for aggressive panhandling is usually a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $500 fine. For example, violating panhandling ordinances in Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston can result in a fine of up to $500 or community service.

Criminal consequences aside, giving money to panhandlers raises other concerns: Are the panhandlers who you see downtown or on Lancaster Street in Fort Worth truly in need – or are they taking advantage of visitors and couples out on dates? As someone who has participated in the annual homeless count, I can tell you that the truly needy are often far from the public eye. What can you do to help?

Panhandling in Fort WorthWhat Can You Do to Help Panhandlers in Fort Worth?

In 2018, a group of civic and business organizations and the city of Fort Worth launched a public education campaign designed to cut down on panhandling and help people out of homelessness. The campaign, dubbed “A Better Way to Offer Change,” encourages people who would normally give a panhandler change to instead donate money via a text message to the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition. The money  can help people pay housing application fees or buy a bus ticket or motel vouches for stranded people. (Text GIVETCHS or FWCHANGE to 41444 to give now.)

Defending  Panhandling Charges in Fort Worth

If you were charged with panhandling in Fort Worth, it’s important to talk to an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and understand the best way to proceed.

No soliciting sign

Call for a Free Consultation

(817) 203-2220

Contact Us Online:

On this Page:

About the Author Board Certified Lawyer Benson Varghese

About the Author

Benson Varghese is the managing partner of Varghese Summersett. He is a seasoned attorney, highly esteemed for his comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field. He has successfully handled thousands of state and federal cases, ranging from misdemeanor driving while intoxicated cases to capital offenses, showcasing his commitment to preserving justice and upholding the rights of his clients. His firm covers criminal defense, personal injury, and family law matters. Benson is also a legal tech entrepreneur. Benson is a go-to authority in the legal community, known for his ability to explain complex legal concepts with clarity and precision. His writings offer a wealth of in-depth legal insights, reflecting his extensive experience and his passion for the law. Not only is Benson an accomplished litigator, but he is also a dedicated advocate for his clients, consistently striving to achieve the best possible outcomes for them. His authorship provides readers with valuable legal advice and an understanding of the complexities of the criminal justice system. CriminalPersonal InjuryFamily Law Contact
Varghese Summersett
Based on 1121 reviews