Failure to Report a Felony is a Crime in Texas
Posted On - October 29th, 2012 | By Tim Clancy | Category - Criminal Defense
Dallas Criminal Felony Defense Attorneys
In 2003, the Texas legislature enacted a law making it a Class A misdemeanor if you witness a felony and fail to report it:
§ 38.171. FAILURE TO REPORT FELONY (a) A person commits an offense if the person:
- observes the commission of a felony under circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that an offense had been committed in which serious bodily injury or death may have resulted; and
- fails to immediately report the commission of the offense to a peace officer or law enforcement agency under circumstances in which:
(A) a reasonable person would believe that the commission of the offense had not been reported; and
(B) the person could immediately report the commission of the offense without placing himself or herself in danger of suffering serious bodily injury or death.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
Defense for Failure to Report a Felony
There are several defenses in cases involving a failure to report a felony. First, there is the issue of whether or not there are sufficient grounds for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was reasonable for you to believe a serious crime had been committed. Depending on the circumstances involved, you may have had suspicions or concerns that a felony happened but not certain knowledge. The burden of proof, however, is on the prosecution to prove you had certain knowledge.
Second, even if you had knowledge that a felony had been committed, if you had good reason to believe reporting the crime would have placed you in danger, there may be grounds for dismissing the charges against you. For example, did you have reason to believe that reporting the crime would expose you to physical danger and reprisals? Or, did the perpetrators have you under surveillance, making it difficult if not impossible to report the crime?
Charged with Failure to Report a Felony? Contact Clancy & Clancy
Prosecuting someone on a charge of failure to report a felony is not an open and shut case by any standard. If you’ve been arrested or asked to talk to investigators concerning a felony you didn’t report, contact Dallas criminal defense attorneys link to Contact Us at Clancy & Clancy today. We know how to protect your rights and, if brought in earlier enough, pre-empt the charges or investigation against you. Call (214) 550-5771 today.
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