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Notable changes to Texas criminal law by the 87th legislature

The 87th legislative session in 2021 was lengthy and controversial. It ended with a mix of changes to Texas’ criminal laws.

Here are the state laws’ most significant changes.

1. Constitutional carry

As of September 1, 2021, all Texans over 21 can carry a pistol without a license or concealed carry course. Previously, Texans had to apply for permits to carry their firearms. House Bill 1927 also:

  • Prohibits carrying firearms while under the influence
  • Prohibits gang members from having guns in their vehicles
  • Allows peace officers to disarm individuals if necessary

Additionally, the bill allows anyone previously convicted of concealed firearm crimes to delete their record.

2. Obstruction of emergency vehicles

House Bill makes blocking emergency vehicles with their lights or sirens on illegal. Breaking this new law will result in a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years in state prison, a state felony record and up to $10,000 in fines. Even if the court gives a convict probation, they must stay in jail for at least ten days for this crime. This bill stemmed from 2020 protests which involved individuals blocking the streets.

3. Law enforcement drone policy

House Bill 1758, which the legislature added to the Texas constitution, demands that law enforcement agencies submit a written policy regarding their use of force by drone. In addition, the same bill limits the circumstances justifying the use of force by drone.

Staying up-to-date on state criminal laws is essential. Share this with family and friends to ensure everyone is as up-to-date as possible.

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