Coercion of Public Servant

Section 36.03 of the Texas Penal Code defines the offense of coercion of a public servant. Under that statute, a person commits an offense if by means of coercion he influences or attempts to influence a public servant in ... a specific performance of his official duty.....

Under Texas Penal Code § 36.03(a)(1), (b), the crime of coercion of a public servant is charged as a Class A misdemeanor unless the coercion is a threat to commit a felony, in which case the crime can be charged as a felony of the third degree.

Attorney for Coercion in San Antonio, TX

If you are accused of intentionally or knowingly attempting to influence a public servant in the performance of their official duty, then contact an attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC. Call the office to find out more about the charges pending against you, ways to avoid the typical penalties, and the best defenses to fight for an outright dismissal of the charges. 

Call (210) 738-8383 today to discuss the case.


Definition of Coercion in Texas

Section 1.07 of the Penal Code defines “coercion” to mean a threat, however communicated:

  • to commit an offense;
  • to inflict bodily injury in the future on the person threatened or another....”

TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 1.07(a)(9).


Elements of Section 36.03(a)(1) for Coercion of a Public Servant 

A person commits an offense if by means of coercion he intentionally or knowingly:

  • influences or attempts to influence a public servant in a specific exercise of his official power; or
  • influences or attempts to influence a public servant in a specific performance of his official duty; or
  • influences or attempts to influence a public servant to violate the public servant's known legal duty; and
  • the person who influences or attempts to influence the public servant was not a member of the governing body of a governmental entity, and
  • the action that influences or attempts to influence the public servant was not an official action taken by the member of the governing body. 

The crime is subject to enhanced penalties if the means of coercion was a threat to commit a felony.


Definitions in the Public Servant Coercion Statute

The term “official action" includes deliberations by the governing body of a governmental entity as defined by Tex. Pen. Code § 36.03(c).

The term “public servant," as defined by Tex. Pen. Code § 1.07(a)(41), means a person who was elected, selected, appointed, employed, or otherwise designated, even if the person had not yet qualified for office or assumed his duties, who was;

  • an officer or employee or agent of government; or
  • a juror or a grand juror; or
  • an arbitrator or referee or other person who is authorized by law or private written agreement to hear or determine a cause or controversy; or
  • an attorney at law or notary public when participating in the performance of a governmental function; or
  • a candidate for nomination or election to public office; or
  • a person who is performing a governmental function under a claim of right although he is not legally qualified to do so.

For purposes of the public servant coercion statute, Texas law provides that a person acts intentionally, or with intent, with respect to the nature of his conduct or to a result of his conduct when it is his conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.

Likewise, a person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of his conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he is aware of the nature of his conduct or that the circumstances exist.  A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of his conduct when he is aware that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.

Other Chapter 36 Penal Code offenses related to Bribery and Corrupt Influence include:

  • Section 36.06(a)(2) Obstruction
  • Section 36.06(a)(1) Retaliation
  • Section 36.09 Offering Gift to Public Servant
  • Section 36.08 Gift to Public Servant - By Person Subject to His Jurisdiction
  • Section 36.07 Acceptance of Honorarium
  • Section 36.06(a)(2) Obstruction
  • Section 36.06(a)(1) Retaliation
  • Section 36.05(b) Tampering with a Witness - By the Witness Accepting a Benefit
  • Section 36.05(a) Tampering with a Witness - By the Person Conferring a Benefit
  • Section 36.04 Improper Influence
  • Section 36.03(a)(2) Coercion of a Voter
  • Section 36.03(a)(1) Coercion of a Public Servant
  • Section 36.02(a)(4) Bribery - Political Contribution to Take or Withhold Action
  • Section 36.02(a)(1-3) Bribery - Not a Political Contribution

This article was last updated on Friday, May 12, 2017.

Click Here to Request Your Free Consultation
Request Your Free Consultation

* All fields are required.

In the Media
Defender of the Year Featured in Defender Magazine