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Protest Rights in Texas

This guide takes a look at the legal rights and restrictions when it comes to attending or organizing a protest in Texas.

Interactions With Police

Police Use of Force

Texas Law

State law sets some parameters for when police officers may use force or deadly force. However, local police departments have a lot of leeway in setting their own policies on what types of actions are permitted and when those actions are permitted. Also, local governments can make laws that ban or curtail certain practices (such as choke holds or use of tear gas). School districts who employ school resource officers (SROs) and college campuses with their own police forces can also set their own policies. Be sure to check the laws and department policies in your area.

Understanding the Law

Arrest and Detention

Am I free to go?

Resisting, Evading, or Hindering Arrest

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Your Rights When Being Arrested

Can I take pictures or video of the police?

For general information about recording in a public place or recording conversations, see our Recording Laws research guide. Despite your general rights to record, your right to record the police can be restricted in certain circumstances. See the resources below for more information.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Do I need to show a police officer my ID?

Texas law only requires that you show your ID to a police officer under certain circumstances. These circumstances include: after you've been arrested, when you are driving, and when you are a License to Carry holder carrying a handgun.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Police Misconduct

Report Misconduct

Most complaints about a particular officer and their actions can be reported to the department where the officer works. Your local government may have an Office of Police Oversight or similar department that can take the complaint. Misconduct can also be reported to the office of the county or district attorney. Civil rights investigations are handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Civil Lawsuits

In addition to criminal charges, citizens can bring civil lawsuits against the police in certain circumstances. An attorney could advise you on what course of action to take if you are considering this aproach.

Emergency and Social Services

Aside from the police, there are many organizations that can help with problems or issues you are facing. Below are some organizations that may be able to provide you with assistance.

Social Services


Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Suicide Prevention

Austin Area

Dallas Area

Houston Area

San Antonio Area