Blue Lives Matter: Should Hate Crime Legislation in Texas Include Police Officers
Should the “Hate Crime” laws currently in place in Texas cover attacks on police officers? Governor Greg Abbott joins other politicians from Colorado to New Jersey saying YES. Governor Abbott wants the targeted killing and assaults of police officers to be considered a “hate crime” under Texas State law.
What is the Current Hate Crime Law in Texas?
Historically “hate crime” laws came into effect to protect those that need protection and those who are not in a position of authority. While police officers routinely put themselves in harm’s way for the good of society, they are better trained to protect themselves and others – unlike a typical class of people protected under a “hate crime” law.
Would a “hate crime” law including police officers deter or prevent crimes against officers? That is what Governor Abbott is hoping to achieve with this concept. Most officers we encounter as criminal defense attorneys do their jobs and do them well. But is making it a “hate crime” for assaulting an officer the answer?
Can a Person Face More Jail Time for a Hate Crime in Tarrant County, Texas?
Texas law currently provides more protection for officers in the form of stiffer penalties. If you assault a friend over a disagreement causing that person bodily injury you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor with a fine not to exceed $4,000 and a term in jail not to exceed 1 year. That same assault if committed against a police officer is a third-degree felony.
That punch to a police officer that would cause bodily injury carries the possibilities of a fine not to exceed $10,000 and a term of imprisonment not to exceed 10 years. The same can be said about a homicide. In most cases, murder is a first-degree felony in Texas.
While murder in Texas does carry the possibility of a life sentence, you can’t receive the death penalty for a “simple” murder. When a police officer is murdered in Texas it carries the possibility of the death penalty.
The current laws in Texas do provide more protection to police officers than ordinary citizens.
Hate Crime Defense Attorneys in Fort Worth, Texas
Criminal offenses involving a police officer can be very serious. If you or a loved one has been charged with any level of assault, resisting arrest, interfering with public duties it is important to consult an experienced Tarrant County defense attorney.
The team of attorneys at Tarrant County based Townsend, Gebhardt, & Eppes, PLLC are former state prosecutors. They possess the skill and experience to build the strongest defense on your behalf. Contact Townsend, Gebhardt, & Eppes, PLLC at (817) 502-3600 for a free initial consultation.
Townsend, Gebhardt, & Eppes, PLLC strongly defend individuals throughout the greater Fort Worth area, including Arlington, Weatherford, Cleburne, and many surrounding communities.