Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 878
By: Allen
Criminal Jurisprudence


Under current law, a person commits criminal trespass if the person remains
on property or a building of another person without effective consent and
the person receives notice to depart, but fails to depart. Texas lodging
properties have had problems with patrons who, after checking into a room
for a designated number of days, have refused to vacate the room at the
agreed checkout time.  Local police departments have indicated that they
are without statutory authority to assist lodging properties in vacating
persons who refuse to depart the property after the agreed checkout time.
House Bill 878 provides that a person commits an offense of criminal
trespass if the person remains in a hotel room after the agreed checkout
time under certain circumstances. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 878 amends the Penal Code to provide that a person commits an
offense of criminal trespass if the person: 

_remains in a hotel room after the checkout time stated in the agreement;

_refuses the request of certain persons affiliated with the hotel to enter
the room; 

_is provided proper notice but fails to depart by the checkout time; and

_has not paid in full for the right to remain in the room.

The offense is a Class B misdemeanor, unless the person who commits the
offense carries a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense, in
which case the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.  The bill also provides
that a person commits theft of service if the person having control of a
hotel room under an agreement fails to provide full compensation for the
period during which the person occupied or agreed to occupy the room.  The
bill provides that it is not a defense to prosecution if the defendant
purports to have an oral agreement to extend the checkout time.  The bill
specifies the content and placement requirements of the notice of potential
criminal trespass. 


September 1, 2001.