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Penalties in TX if you assault a referee

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2020 | Firm News

Texans love their football. Unfortunately, sometimes that love for the game gets shown in unpleasant ways. Because of this, high school football now has a shortage of game officials. While Texas is not the only state facing this problem, it is at crisis levels in the Lone Star State. So, why are game officials quitting? What exactly are people doing? They are assaulting officiators. 

NBC DFW reports that 80% of the officials who quit the profession as recently as 2017 reported abusive behavior as the main reason. In fact, observations seem to confirm that the younger the players on the field are, the more prone to violence the adults in the stands are. As of 2019, there were 992 officials in the profession in Texas. There were 1,100 employed as officials in the previous year. 

Forbes notes that what is surprising is that Texas does have laws against aggression toward sports officials. In fact, Texas is one of 23 states with laws that dictate what the specific penalties are for assaulting sports officials. In Texas, a person could get charged with a Class C misdemeanor. This means that even though laws are in place, most people get off with no jail time and just a $500 fine. 

That said, there are instances where the person could get charged with a Class B misdemeanor instead. This might happen if a parent or sports fan rushes onto the field and attacks a referee in retaliation against a decision the official made. This may lead to a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail or even both.