Attempting to Take a Weapon from a Cop

A defendant commits an offense under section 38.14 of the Texas Penal Code if he "intentionally or knowingly and with force takes or attempts to take from a peace officer . . . the officer's firearm . . . with the intention of harming the officer or a third person." Tex. Penal Code Ann. 38.14(b) (West Supp. 2000). The defendant is presumed to have known that the person confronting him was a peace officer if he identified himself as an officer or wore a distinctive uniform or badge. See id. 38.14(c). It is a defense to prosecution if the officer used excessive force. See id. 38.14(d). Proof of intent generally relies on circumstantial evidence. See Steinbach v. State, 979 S.W.2d 836, 842 (Tex. App.--Austin 1998, pet. ref'd). Intent may be inferred from the circumstances of the illegal act, and from the defendant's words and conduct. See Maldonado v. State, 998 S.W.2d 239, 243 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999); Steinbach, 979 S.W.2d at 842. Whether circumstantial evidence establishes the required intent is a question of fact for the jury. See Maldonado, 998 S.W.2d at 243; Cruz v. State, 838 S.W.2d 682, 684 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1992, pet. ref'd).