Unauthorized Practice of Law
Chapter 38 of the Texas Penal Code defines offenses relating to the obstruction of governmental operation.
“Unauthorized Practice of Law”, as per § 38.123 of the Texas Penal Code, occurs when a person, with intent to obtain an economic benefit for himself or herself:
contracts with any person to represent that person with regard to personal causes of action for property damages or personal injury;
advises any person as to the person's rights and the advisability of making claims for personal injuries or property damages;
advises any person as to whether or not to accept an offered sum of money in settlement of claims for personal injuries or property damages;
enters into any contract with another person to represent that person in personal injury or property damage matters on a contingent fee basis with an attempted assignment of a portion of the person's cause of action; or
into any contract with a third person which purports to grant the exclusive right to select and retain legal counsel to represent the individual in any legal proceeding.
An offense under this section is a Class A Misdemeanor, unless it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has previously been convicted under this section, in which case it is a third degree felony.
Severity of Crime
Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year
Fine not to exceed $4,000
Both such fine and confinement
Third Degree Felony
Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 10 years or less than two years
In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000