Civil unrest is happening across the country, including in Dallas and Fort Worth. Protests have gone on for weeks after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis. Dallas police officers recently detained 674 peaceful protesters on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge after allegedly shooting tear gas or smoke at the protestors. If you or a loved one has been arrested for protesting, it is important to understand the crimes for which you could be charged.
Criminal Mischief Charges in Texas
Texas law defines criminal mischief as the crime of vandalism or damage to someone else’s property. In many cases, protesters are charged with criminal mischief for damaging property. In many cases, prosecutors overcharge suspects who were merely protesting. Sometimes they arrest the wrong person, which happens when there are large crowds. Prosecutors will need to prove the following:
Someone intentionally or knowingly damaged property that belonged to someone else
Someone knowingly or intentionally tampered with another person’s property, causing a substantial inconvenience or loss
Someone intentionally or knowingly made inscriptions, marks, or drew graffiti or drawings on another person’s property
Charges for Resisting Arrest in Texas
The federal constitution, as well as the Texas Constitution, grants people the right to protest the government. Some of the recent protesters have been charged with resisting arrest during the protests. The crime of resisting arrest is serious. Many people think that if they are innocent, they cannot face criminal penalties for resisting arrest. The opposite is true, however. Someone can be innocent and also face criminal penalties for resisting arrest.
When the police claim that someone resisted, that person can face serious charges even if he or she is entirely innocent of the underlying charge. Unfortunately, resisting arrest is a subject criminal offense with many gray areas. For example, when police officers use excessive force as part of the arrest, you could still face charges for resisting arrest.
The Penalties for Resisting Arrest
Under Texas law, resisting arrest is considered a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanor charges are the most severe type of misdemeanor crimes. The penalties for a Class A misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail along with a potential fine of up to $4,000. When the suspect has prior convictions of another class A misdemeanor or a felony offense, judges must impose a 90-day mandatory minimum jail sentence. The charge will become a third-degree felony charge when the suspect used a deadly weapon while resisting the search or the arrest.
Contact Our Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
If you have been charged with criminal mischief or resisting arrest, the sooner you hire an experienced lawyer the better. These charges are extremely serious, and if you are convicted, it could negatively affect you for years to come. Attorney Christopher Abel has the experience necessary to advocate for your rights. Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation as soon as possible.