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Increased Penalties During a State of Emergency

The Coffey Firm - Experienced DWI Attorneys and Criminal Defense Lawyers > Mimi's Blog  > Increased Penalties During a State of Emergency

Increased Penalties During a State of Emergency

Texas Penal Code section 12.50 provides that penalties increase for certain offenses when committed during a state of emergency. When the President of the United States or the Governor declares a state of emergency, this provision goes into effect.  Texas Governor Abbott declared the Coronavirus a state of emergency on March 13, 2020 (https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-declares-state-of-disaster-in-texas-due-to-covid-19). President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency for the same on March 13, 2020, (https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-declaring-national-emergency-concerning-novel-coronavirus-disease-covid-19-outbreak/).  Specifically, the following crimes under the Texas Penal Code jump a penalty grade:


  • 22.01 Assault
  • 28.02 Arson
  • 29.02 Robbery
  • 30.02 Burglary
  • 30.04 Burglary of a Vehicle
  • 30.05 Criminal Trespass
  • 31.03 Theft


Looting is theft and may have increased penalties during an emergency

Furthermore, if the penalty grade for the following remains in the misdemeanor category (a class B misdemeanor elevating to a class A misdemeanor), the law requires the minimum confinement in jail to be 180 days for the following offenses under the Texas Penal Code:



  • 22.01 Assault
  • 30.04 Burglary of a Vehicle
  • 30.05 Criminal Trespass
  • 31.03 Theft


Assaults during a state of emergency may have increased penalties

The Texas Legislature has determined that crimes committed during disaster times, and for the areas affected, particularly merit more severe punishment. For example, melees, brawls, and delinquent acts of ruffian behavior are an added affront to tough times.  A normal fight or tussle could very well end up being a felony charge with harsh consequences. It is very important that everyone be aware that stressful times need not equate to more trouble.

Please stay safe. Follow the CDC guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html. The Coffey Firm is wishing you much health, safety and happiness during these dangerous times and beyond.

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Stay safe and make sure to wash your hands!

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More about Mimi Coffey

When people look for a Top DWI Attorney or Best DWI Attorney, they look for experience, certification, and respect in the legal community. Mimi Coffey is a nationally-renowned trial attorney, board-certified in DWI by the NCDD. She has been practicing for over 24 years and is an author of multiple DWI Defense textbooks. She is also a national and state-wide lecturer on the law.

The Coffey Firm handles a wide variety of cases, including Unlawful Carrying Weapon (UCW), Assault (including family violence), Theft and Possession charges.

Mimi is also listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI Lawyers for Wise County, DWI Lawyer Tarrant CountyDWI attorney Dallas County, DWI attorneys Collin County and DWI attorneys Parker County. Mimi is a caring DWI Lawyer in DFW, She is also involved in the Texas Tech School of Law foundation and enjoys using the skills she has developed to give back to the community.