Defending Obstruction or Retaliation Charges in Fort Worth
When people are arrested and their lives are upended, they sometimes look for revenge or a way to obstruct the legal process. They may harm or threaten the person who reported the crime, a witness, or an informant – or even the police, prosecutor or judge handling their case. Under Texas law, this is referred to as obstruction or retaliation, and it’s a separate crime that can carry significant consequences.
Fort Worth Retaliation Lawyers Serving Tarrant County and Surrounding Areas
Police and prosecutors don’t take retaliation or obstruction accusations lightly. If you or a loved one is facing a charge of retaliation or obstruction in Fort Worth or Tarrant County, it’s imperative to seek an experienced defense attorney immediately. This charge carries prison time and you can bet prosecutors are going to try and get it. Our team of former prosecutors and board certified attorneys have experience handling retaliation/obstruction charges and will fight to protect your freedom.
What is obstruction or retaliation in Texas?
Obstruction or retaliation is defined in Section 36.06 of the Texas Penal Code and is pretty straight forward. The first part of the definition deals with retaliation, while the second pertains to obstruction. The last part of the definition addresses publicly posting a public servant’s personal information.
- Retaliation: A person commits retaliation if he or she intentionally or knowingly harms or threatens to harm another in retaliation for or on account of their service or status as a public servant (police, prosecutor, judge, etc.), witness, prospective witness, informant, or person who reported a crime or intends to report crime.
- Obstruction: 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, informant, or a person who has reported a crime or intends to report a crime.
- “Doxxing:” Recently, this statute was amended to also include what is commonly referred to as doxxing – or publicly posting a public servant’s home address or phone number. If someone retaliates against a public servant by publicly posting their personal address or phone number – or their family member’s information – they can be charged with retaliation.
Differentiating between Obstruction and Retaliation
When differentiating between obstruction and retaliation, note that obstruction occurs before something – such an upcoming court hearing or a trial. An example would be threatening to harm a witness if they testify against you at trial. Retaliation occurs after the fact – such as an arrest. An example would be threatening to harm the police officer who arrested you.
What is the punishment for obstruction or retaliation?
An obstruction or retaliation charge is a third degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. The charge can be elevated to a second-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine, if it is classified as aggravated. Aggravated obstruction or retaliation includes:
- Threatening to harm a juror;
- Causing bodily injury to a public servant or a member of their family or household.
Who is considered a public servant in Texas?
In Texas, a public servant is a person who is elected, selected, appointed or employed as a:
- Government employee;
- 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 charges in Texas
- In January 2022, a Corpus Christi man was charged with retaliation after sending threatening text messages to a judge. The man allegedly sent a text to the judge ordering her to remove the warrants against him for her “own sake.” In another text, he allegedly said he would pull a knife on the first officer who came after him.
- In January 2022, three men were arrested for allegedly threatening a Border Patrol agent during a stop in La Joya. Specifically, one of the men told the Agent during the interaction, “Don’t make me go to my car and get my gun.”
- In April 2021, a Hearne man was charged with obstruction or retaliation after he allegedly threatened to blow up the Brazos County Courthouse if his children were removed from his custody.
- In May 2021, a 39-year-old Hopkins County man was indicted on a charge of obstruction or retaliation after a sheriff’s investigator heard him tell his mother during a jailhouse call that he would kill his father for reporting him to police.
- In September 2020, Texarkana police arrested a man for calling and texting witnesses involved in his brother’s criminal case and threatening them if they testified.
Facing Fort Worth obstruction or retaliation charges? Contact us.
If you have been charged with obstruction or retaliation in Fort Worth, Tarrant County or the surrounding area, it’s imperative to hire a seasoned attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. The government takes these cases very seriously and is likely going to bring all their resources to bear. Our team is made up of former prosecutors who are now-highly regarded defense attorneys. The best defense lawyers are those who understand the other side. The knowledge and experience we gained as prosecutors enable us to anticipate the opposing counsel’s next move and stay one step ahead of them. Call 817-203-2220 today for a free consultation and find out why we are the best at what we do.