New Texas Laws Beginning September 1st 2023: Crime

There has been about 800 laws that passed that will take affect starting September 1st. Here’s a quick look at those new laws.

New Texas laws on crime

1. Murder and Capital Murder Cases: Senate Bill 402 Efficiency in the criminal justice system is paramount. Senate Bill 402 mandates that trial courts prioritize hearings and trials for murder and capital murder cases, aiming to reduce backlogs and deliver justice more swiftly to those affected by these serious offenses.

2. Athena Alerts: Missing Child Alerts with House Bill 3556 House Bill 3556 introduces a significant change in missing child alerts. Known as “Athena Alerts,” this law empowers law enforcement to issue regional alerts within 100 miles of where a child was last seen, bypassing the requirement for a statewide AMBER Alert. This change, inspired by the tragic case of Athena Strand, seeks to improve the effectiveness of alerts and increase the chances of a safe recovery.

3. Caleb’s Law: Penalties for Child Pornography with Senate Bill 128 Senate Bill 128, or “Caleb’s Law,” takes a firm stance against child pornography. Named after Caleb Diehl, who disappeared in North Texas in 2015, this law enforces more stringent penalties for those involved in this heinous crime. Felony offenders will face prosecution based on the number of images they possess and their role in obtaining them, aiming to combat child exploitation more effectively.

4. The Natalia Cox Act: Support for Victims of Domestic Violence with Senate Bill 1325 Senate Bill 1325, known as “The Natalia Cox Act,” seeks to empower victims of domestic violence. This law introduces a written notice that victims can use to access essential services for protection and shelter. Named after Huston-Tillotson University student Natalia Cox, who tragically lost her life in 2021, this act strives to create a safer environment for individuals facing domestic violence.

5. Human Trafficking: House Bill 3554 House Bill 3554 takes a stand against human trafficking, particularly in vulnerable locations such as schools, child-care facilities, and shelters. By elevating the penalty for such offenses to a first-degree felony, Texas demonstrates its commitment to eradicating this grave violation of human rights.

6. Stalking Laws: Senate Bill 1717 Stalking is a serious crime with far-reaching impacts. Senate Bill 1717 broadens the definition of stalking and strengthens the consequences for offenders. This expansion highlights the state’s dedication to protecting individuals from the pervasive threat of stalking.

7. Addressing Harassment in the Digital Age: House Bill 1427 In an era of digital communication, harassment has taken new forms. House Bill 1427 extends the scope of harassment prosecution to include electronic communications from temporary or disposable phones. This adaptation ensures that legal measures remain relevant and effective in combating modern challenges.

Watch Texas True Crime Streaming Online | Hulu (Free Trial)

8. Prosecutorial Integrity: House Bill 17 In cases of misconduct, the courts are empowered to remove district attorneys who intentionally refrain from prosecuting a specific criminal offense under state law. Furthermore, instructing law enforcement to disregard the arrest of individuals suspected of committing such offenses is now a basis for potential removal.

9. Court Decisions: Senate Bill 372 Addresses the release of court decisions by establishing that only judges or justices have the authority to release or leak court rulings

10. Armed District Clerks: Senate Bill 599 and House Bill 2291 Grants district and county clerks the option to carry handguns while on duty

11. Kobe and Gianna Bryant Act, Senate Bill 997 Addresses the release of photographs of human remains by specific professionals, including first responders, coroners, and medical examiners. It establishes that such images may only be published or released for official purposes, prohibiting their dissemination for other intentions.

As legal professionals, we stand ready to provide guidance and support to those affected by these legal changes, ensuring that rights are upheld and justice prevails.

For more insights into legal matters and how they affect our society, continue to explore our blog or connect with our expert legal team.

Krystin Collins

Attorney at Law

‪(832) 242-3771‬

Disclaimer: The content provided is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Consult with a us  for personalized guidance on how these laws may affect your specific circumstances.