10 New Texas Criminal Laws That Go In Effect On September 1, 2023
There's A Saying In Law "Ignorance Of The Law Is No Defense" So Get Familiar With These New Texas Laws So You Don't Get In Big Trouble.
Beginning September 1st in Texas 750 (SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY) new laws will go into effect after the Texas Legislature filed more 8000 (EIGHT THOUSAND) bills over the last year.
There's a lot to go over, but for the sake of keeping folks out of trouble, we're going to take a look at 10 new laws that deal with crime. Some of these new criminal laws make obvious sense, while some are updated or enhanced laws to offenses already on the books, while others will probably leave you scratching your head.
1. Refusal To ID While Driving Is Now Illegal.
Senate Bill 1551 requires drivers who are pulled over by police for an alleged law violation to give their driver’s license as well as their name, address, and birthdate when asked by police. If they refuse, they face a charge of failure to identify while driving, which is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine. However, if the driver gives a false or fictitious name, they face a Class B misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and a maximum $2000 fine.
2. Giving Alcohol to a Minor Leading to Injury or Death
Its already illegal to give alcohol to minors but beginning Sept. 1, House Bill 420 becomes law and if you provide alcohol to a minor and the youth consumes the alcohol and causes another person to suffer serious bodily injury or death, YOU face a state jail felony, punishable by six months to 2 years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine.
3. Doxing Is Now Illegal
Doxing is a form of cyberbullying where a person is spreading or posting private information about an individual without their permission to the public, mostly through the Internet, to harm, harass or get revenge.
House Bill 611 criminalizes doxing by creating the criminal offense of “unlawful disclosure of residence address or telephone number.” It’s a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by six months in jail and a maximum $2000 fine, to post an individual’s address or number on a publicly accessible website with the intent to cause harm or a threat of harm to the individual or a member of the individual’s family or household. The punishment can be elevated to a Class A misdemeanor if the offense results in bodily injury of that individual or their family member.
4. Human Trafficking Near College Campuses And Daycare Centers
House Bills 3553 and 3554 enhances the penalty of human trafficking from a second-degree felony to a first-degree for the offense of trafficking of a person on the premises of or within 1000 feet of a public, private, or independent institution of higher education and certain shelters or facilities, a community center offering youth services, or a child-care facility. This offense is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.
5. Assault on Hospital Staff
Senate Bill 840 elevates the offense of assaulting hospital workers from a misdemeanor to a state felony, punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine. It is also referred to as the “Jackie Pokuaa and Annette Flowers Act,” in remembrance of the two employees from Methodist Dallas Medical Center who tragically lost their lives in a shooting incident in October of the previous year.
6. Deep Fake Porn Is Now Illegal
Senate Bill 1361 creates a new offense, making it illegal to knowingly produce or distribute a “deep fake” video that appears to depict a person, without their consent, with their intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct. Producing or distributing deep fake pornography is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.
7. No Tampering with Temporary Tags
Fraudulent vehicle tags have long been a problem in Texas and House Bill 914 makes temporary license plates a “government document” and tampering with a government document is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4000 fine.
8. Illegal Voting is Now a Felony
Brought on by
"The Big Lie" questions surrounding the last election, House Bill 1243 made what was a Class A misdemeanor for casting a fraudulent ballot to a second-degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. Illegal voting includes things like voting when you are not eligible to vote, voting more than once in an election, and voting as another person.
9. No Drones Above Prisons
Flying drones can be fun but be careful WHERE you're flying them. House Bill 3075 makes it a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine, to fly a drone less than 400 feet over a correctional or detention facility; make contact with a correctional facility or detention facility; or come close enough to cause a disturbance. The offense is elevated to a state jail felony if the defendant used the drone to drop contraband.
10. Fentanyl Murder
House Bill 6, creates the criminal offense of murder for supplying fentanyl that results in a death; enhances the criminal penalties for the manufacturing or delivery of fentanyl; and requires deaths caused by fentanyl to be designated as fentanyl toxicity or fentanyl poisoning on a death certificate.
What do you think of these new laws that are set to take effect in Texas?