Engaging in Organized Crime Attorney – Houston, TX – Lawyer
When many people hear the words “organized crime” many think of Al Capone and many mafia movies like “Scarface”. Although, the legislature created laws to combat organizations such as these, the harsh reality is that these statutes can easily encompass many much smaller and organized groups of people. Prosecutors regularly use these statutes to enhance charges to more serious sentences and punishments.
Organized Crime Laws
In order to charge someone with the offense of Engaging in Organized Crime, there must be either a “combination” or a “criminal street gang”. A “combination” is defined as three or more persons who collaborate in carrying on criminal activities. These persons may not know the other participants, membership in the combination may change from time to time, and participants may be in a wholesaler-retailer or other arm’s length relationship in the illicit distribution operation. A “criminal street gang” is defined as three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities.
In addition to the requirement above, the parties must conspire to commit a particular offense; a person must agree with one or more persons and one or more of them performs an over act in pursuance of the agreement. These offenses include, but aren’t limited to:
- Capital Murder
- Aggravated Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Continuous Abuse of a Child
- Solicitation of a Minor
- Deadly Conduct
- Class A Assault
- Burglary of a Motor Vehicle
- Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
- Class A Gambling offense
- Promotion of Prostitution
- Compelling Prostitution
- Unlawful Manufacture, Transportation, Repair, or Sale of Firearms or Prohibited Weapons
- Unlawful Manufacture, Delivery, Dispensation, or Distribution of a Controlled Substance or Dangerous Drug
- Unlawful Wholesale Promotion or Possession of any Obscene Material or Obscene Device
- Many others
As you can see, it is very easy for the State to accuse you of engaging in organized crime. It doesn’t take very much.
Organized Crime Penalties
When a defendant is implicated in organized crime, the criminal charge is elevated by one degree. For instance, a Class A Misdemeanor charge is enhanced to a state jail felony. If the underlying criminal offense is a Second Degree Felony, you would be enhanced to a First Degree Felony and be facing 5-99 years in prison. This is why the State uses this method to enhance many cases involving multiple parties.
Organized Crime Defense
The use of organized crime laws can easily result in overcharging the commission of an alleged crime by prosecutors. Although it’s extremely easy to be intimidated by law enforcement authorities, it should never be assumed that all hope is lost. There are ways to contest whether you meet the requirements of having a “combination” or a “criminal street gang”. Also the State must prove the underlying offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Any person subject to a criminal investigation should exercise their constitutional right to remain silent and not incriminate themselves. Additionally, you have a right to consult with an attorney, call a qualified organized crime attorney without delay.
Meet With an Organized Crime Defense Lawyer.
For a free case evaluation and consultation, contact Henry K. Nguyen at 713-222-1800.