Texas State Penal Code: Title 9 - Offenses against public order and decency

Chapter 42. Disorderly conduct and related offenses

42.01. Disorderly Conduct

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:

  • (1) uses abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;
  • (2) makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;
  • (3) creates, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor in a public place;
  • (4) abuses or threatens a person in a public place in an obviously offensive manner;
  • (5) makes unreasonable noise in a public place other than a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code, or in or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy;
  • (6) fights with another in a public place;
  • (7) enters on the property of another and for a lewd or unlawful purpose looks into a dwelling on the property through any window or other opening in the dwelling;
  • (8) while on the premises of a hotel or comparable establishment, for a lewd or unlawful purpose looks into a guest room not his own through a window or other opening in the room;
  • (9) discharges a firearm in a public place other than a public road or a sport shooting range, as defined by Section 250.001, Local Government Code;
  • (10) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm;
  • (11) discharges a firearm on or across a public road; or
  • (12) exposes his anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(4) that the actor had significant provocation for his abusive or threatening conduct.

(c) For purposes of this section:

  • (1) an act is deemed to occur in a public place or near a private residence if it produces its offensive or proscribed consequences in the public place or near a private residence; and
  • (2) a noise is presumed to be unreasonable if the noise exceeds a decibel level of 85 after the person making the noise receives notice from a magistrate or peace officer that the noise is a public nuisance.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor unless committed under Subsection (a)(9) or (a)(10), in which event it is a Class B misdemeanor.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 181, ch. 89, §§ 1, 2, eff. Aug. 29, 1977; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 4641, ch. 800, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 145, § 2, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 318, § 14, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Safe streets