Texas Riot Charges

Texas Riot charges are rarely brought by Texas law enforcement. Due to arrest made in protest over George Floyd’s death Dallas Police have arrested numerous protesters for Texas Riot charges when the protest turned more violent. Most of the charges are likely to be for Class B misdemeanors which have a penalty range up to 6 months in jail.

Under Texas law a riot is defined as seven or more people assemble and the resulting conduct creates immediate danger to property, injury to persons, substantially obstructs law enforcement, or by force deprives a person from enjoying a legal right. If you participate in the riot you can be arrested and prosecuted.

Under this statute a person can face a much higher range of punishment if a more serious offense was committed during the riot and the offense was committed in furtherance of the assembly and it was an offense that should have been anticipated as occurring during the assembly. For example 27 bikers were indicted for first degree felonies for Texas Riot charges in Waco in 2018 stemming from the Twin Peaks shooting. The prosecutors theory was that the bikers should have anticipated their assembly at the Twin Peaks could result in the murder of other bikers. The charges were dismissed by the subsequent District Attorney.

It will be interesting to see how the Dallas County District Attorneys Office handles these cases. If they all remain misdemeanors they may be settled by negotiated dismissals if the defendants have no serious criminal records. I doubt the DA wants to have trials over these cases that stem from protest of George Floyd’s tragic death.

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