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Legal Statutes: Texas

UPDATED July 20, 2016

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Chapter 42. Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses

back to top§ 42.07. Harassment

[NOTE TO WOMENSLAW.ORG READERS - SECTION (a)(7), BELOW, WAS DECLARED TO BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL BY THE HIGHEST COURT IN TEXAS - PLEASE CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY TO FIND OUT WHETHER OR NOT POLICE AND PROSECUTORS WILL STILL ARREST AND PROSECUTE FOR A VIOLATION OF (a)(7).]

(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, the person:

(1) initiates communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;

(2) threatens, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of the person's family or household, or the person's property;

(3) conveys, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report, a false report, which is known by the conveyor to be false, that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury;

(4) causes the telephone of another to ring repeatedly or makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another;

(5) makes a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection;

(6) knowingly permits a telephone under the person's control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section; or

(7) sends repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.

(b) In this section:

(1) “Electronic communication” means a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photo-optical system. The term includes:

(A) a communication initiated by electronic mail, instant message, network call, or facsimile machine; and

(B) a communication made to a pager.

(2) “Family” and “household” have the meaning assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.

(3) “Obscene” means containing a patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act, including sexual intercourse, masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus, or a description of an excretory function.

(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted under this section.
Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 2204, ch. 411, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 10, § 1, eff. March 19, 1993; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 657, § 1, eff. June 14, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, § 15.02(d), eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1222, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., ch. 1278 (H.B. 1606), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2013.