(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to obtain an economic benefit for himself or herself, the person:
(1) contracts with any person to represent that person with regard to personal causes of action for property damages or personal injury;
(2) advises any person as to the person’s rights and the advisability of making claims for personal injuries or property damages;
(3) 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;
(4) 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
(5) enters 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.
(b) This section does not apply to a person currently licensed to practice law in this state, another state, or a foreign country and in good standing with the State Bar of Texas and the state bar or licensing authority of any and all other states and foreign countries where licensed.
Terms Used In Texas Penal Code 38.123
- Another: means a person other than the actor. See Texas Penal Code 1.07
- Benefit: means anything reasonably regarded as economic gain or advantage, including benefit to any other person in whose welfare the beneficiary is interested. See Texas Penal Code 1.07
- Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
- Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
- Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
- Felony: means an offense so designated by law or punishable by death or confinement in a penitentiary. See Texas Penal Code 1.07
- Individual: means a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth. See Texas Penal Code 1.07
- Law: means the constitution or a statute of this state or of the United States, a written opinion of a court of record, a municipal ordinance, an order of a county commissioners court, or a rule authorized by and lawfully adopted under a statute. See Texas Penal Code 1.07
- Misdemeanor: means an offense so designated by law or punishable by fine, by confinement in jail, or by both fine and confinement in jail. See Texas Penal Code 1.07
- Person: means an individual or a corporation, association, limited liability company, or other entity or organization governed by the Business Organizations Code. See Texas Penal Code 1.07
- Property: means real and personal property. See Texas Government Code 311.005
- Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
- Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d) of this section, an offense under Subsection (a) of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(d) An offense under Subsection (a) of this section is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has previously been convicted under Subsection (a) of this section.