Assault on a Police Officer and Other Special Rules

Cops say No Purple-Nurples or Drug Testing

A few of the headlines this month scream hypocrisy and -if you have a well-developed sense of humor- great irony. TCU (Fort Worth, TX) football player has been arrested for assault on a police officer. While to the North, police officers have filed suit, because they do not want to undergo mandatory drug testing for their job. If you missed it, here is why it’s funny…sad…whatever.

First, police want special treatment. Assault on a Public Servant (Police Officer) is a harsh law reflecting police cries for greater protection. Assault a regular person (me or 99% of the public) by causing “pain” then you are looking at a Class A Misdemeanor. This is 0 to 365 days in county jail and up to a $4,000 fine. This is a pretty steep, but in reality probation or a few days in jail is the most common punishment if someone is found guilty. Now, add a police officer to the mix…

Assault a police officer by causing “pain” then you are looking at a Third Degree Felony. The penalty for a Third Degree Felony assault starts at 2 years in prison and goes up to 10 years in prison, oh, and up to a $10,000 fine. You can get probation for this, too. However, probation can last up to 10 years. On probation you have to pay around $60 a month to cover probation department costs. You will need to pay any fines assessed. You will need to pay any court costs. You may have to sit in county jail for up to 180 days just as a condition of your probation. So, give a cop a locker-room “Titty-Twister” – or we’re TCU fans around here, so “Purple Nurple” then you are looking at possibly 10 years in prison. PRISON, not county lockup, but real-life prison.

Second, police don’t want special rules. Up in Pittsburgh, PA, the police union has filed a civil suit to avoid mandatory drug and alcohol testing. That’s right; police are saying they do not want to provide specimens for drug testing, because it violates their constitutional rights against illegal searches and seizures.

I am not saying we should change the Assault on a Police Officer Law. I am not saying police officers do not deserve the protections of the Fourth Amendment. I am saying, if you are going to be special then be special. If you want more then you have to give more. If it is reasonable that we multiply (by 10) the punishment for a crime, because it happens against a police officer, then I think it’s reasonable those police officers submit to a bit more scrutiny.

Notes on Assault of a Police Officer

  • It is a crime in Texas to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause “bodily injury” to someone. Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(1).
  • “Bodily injury” means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition. Texas Penal Code § 1.07(a)(8).
  • Causing bodily injury to someone is a Class A Misdemeanor, unless a person causes bodily injury to a public servant then the offense is a Third Degree Felony. Texas Penal Code § 22.01(b)(1).
  • A “Public Servant” is employed as an officer, employee, or agent of government (i.e. municipality or county). Texas Penal Code § 1.07(a)(41).

Author: Cody Cofer

Fort Worth criminal attorney and general contrarian.