Austin, Texas
March 7, 2011

Honorable Pete Gallego, Chair, House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
John S O'Brien, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB41 by Menendez (Relating to the penalty for certain conduct constituting an offense for false report to peace officer or law enforcement employee.), As Introduced

The bill would amend the Penal Code to make providing a false statement during a criminal investigation to a peace officer or law enforcement employee in which it is alleged that a peace officer engaged in conduct constituting a felony be punishable as a state jail felony.  At present, making a false report to a peace officer or law enforcement employee is punishable as a Class B Misdemeanor.


A Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by confinement in county jail for a term not to exceed 180 days and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000. A state jail felony is punishable by confinement in a state jail for a term from 180 days to 2 years and, in addition to confinement, an optional fine not to exceed $10,000 or Class A Misdemeanor punishment (mandatory post conviction community supervision).


Expanding the list of behaviors for which a penalty is applied for any criminal offense or increasing the penalty for any criminal offense is expected to result in increased demands upon the correctional resources of counties or of the State due to longer terms of probation, or longer terms of confinement in county jail, state jail or prison. When an offense is changed from a misdemeanor to a felony, there is a transfer of the burden of confinement of convicted offenders from the counties to the State.


The impact of the bill on correctional populations would depend on how many persons would be affected under the enhancement provision and whose offense, currently punishable as a Class B Misdemeanor, would be punishable as a state jail felony. In fiscal year 2010, approximately 629 people were arrested and 230 of those arrested in fiscal year 2010 were placed on misdemeanor community supervision for the offense of false report to peace officer or law enforcement employee.  For this analysis it is assumed the number of offenders convicted under this statute would not result in a significant impact on the programs and workload of state corrections agencies or on the demand for resources and services of those agencies.

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