Polygamists beware. Bigamy is illegal in Texas.


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In Texas, Bigamy is a serious felony offense.  Most people are not familiar with the legal elements.  If you are not familiar, the Texas Penal Code section on Bigamy is printed below.  The offense is a third degree, second degree or first degree felony depending on age factors listed below.  Therefore, the range of punishment could be quite severe from as low at two to ten years in prison to as high as life in prison.

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Texas Penal Code, Section 25.01 – Bigamy

CHAPTER 25. OFFENSES AGAINST THE FAMILY

§ 25.01. BIGAMY.   (a)  An individual commits an offense if:
(1) he is legally married and he:
(A) purports to marry or does marry a person other than his spouse in this state, or any other state or foreign country, under circumstances that would, but for the actor’s prior marriage, constitute a marriage; or
(B) lives with a person other than his spouse in this state under the appearance of being married; or
(2) he knows that a married person other than his spouse is married and he:
(A) purports to marry or does marry that person in this state, or any other state or foreign country, under circumstances that would, but for the person’s prior marriage, constitute a marriage; or
(B)  lives with that person in this state under the appearance of being married.
(b) For purposes of this section, “under the appearance of being married” means holding out that the parties are married with cohabitation and an intent to be married by either party.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(1) that the actor reasonably believed at the time of the commission of the offense that the actor and the person whom the actor married or purported to marry or with whom the actor lived under the appearance of being married were legally eligible to be married because the actor’s prior marriage was void or had been dissolved by death, divorce, or annulment. For purposes of this subsection, an actor’s belief is reasonable if the belief is substantiated by a certified copy of a death certificate or other signed document issued by a court.
(d) For the purposes of this section, the lawful wife or husband of the actor may testify both for or against the actor concerning proof of the original marriage.
(e) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, except that if at the time of the commission of the offense, the person whom the actor marries or purports to marry or with whom the actor lives under the appearance of being married is:
(1) 16 years of age or older, the offense is a felony of the second degree; or
(2) younger than 16 years of age, the offense is a felony of the first degree.

 

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