16 Definitions to Know When Involved in Police Encounters

16 Definitions to Know When Involved in Police Encounters

There are 16 Definitions to Know When Involved in Police Encounters. Did you know conduct alone does not constitute an offense? “Conduct” must be defined by statutes, municipal ordinance, order of county commissioners court, or rule authorized by and lawfully adopted under the statute. What can you learn from police encounters? What is the language they use when writing a traffic ticket, or investigating a case, and how can you better understand the meaning of this language?

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photo courtesy: Democracy Now

In order to effectively understand provisions of the language used in the penal code, several definitions would be essential to a clear understanding of terms used throughout the code. These definitions are important for police officers as well as citizens involved in police encounters. Here are 16 definitions every citizen should know when they are detained by police.

Texas Penal Code: Constitution and Statutes


A bodily movement, whether voluntary on involuntary, and includes speech.


A person other than the actor.


A person whose criminal responsibility is in issue in a criminal action. Whenever the term “suspect” is used in this code, it means “actor.”

Bodily Injury

Physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.

Deadly Weapon

A firearm or anything manifestly purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.


Includes, for an unborn child, the failure to be born alive. (Note: The penal code does not define “death” for individuals who have been born alive.)

Effective Consent

Assent in fact, either express or apparent, given without force or threat; it must be given by a person legally authorized to give consent. Effective consent cannot be given by persons who are mentally diseased or defective; in addition, it cannot be given by persons who by reason of their youth or intoxicated condition cannot make reasonable decisions.

Elements of Offense

The forbidden conduct; the required culpability; any required result; and the negation of any exception of the offense.


Anything reasonably regarded as loss, disadvantage, or injury, including harm to another person in whose welfare the person affected in interested.


A human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation, from fertilized egg until birth.


Failure to act.


An individual, corporation, or association.


Actual care, custody, control, or management.

Public Place

Any place to which the public or substantial group of the public has access and includes but is not limited to streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops.

Reasonable Belief

A belief that would be held by an ordinary and prudent man (or woman) in the same or similar circumstances.

Serious Bodily Injury

Means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

About Quianna Canada

Quianna Canada is an anti-police brutality activist, author, and opinion writer living in the United States.
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