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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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