When individuals join together to engage in criminal activities as a group, State and federal laws target such this as organized criminal activity. The most well-known federal statute is the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also referred to as RICO, which focuses on the profits made by large criminal enterprises.
Title 11, Chapter 71 of the Texas Penal Code permits law enforcement and prosecutors at the state level to target groups engaging in illegal activities. Individuals committing any of the crimes enumerated in the statute can also be charged with organized criminal activity and face enhanced penalties at sentencing. An attorney such as Rand Mintzer with a knowledge and understanding of the organized crime laws can assist a person charged under the Texas Penal Code.
The Texas Penal Code defines organized criminal activity as three or more individuals engaging or conspiring to engage in any of a number of crimes enumerated in the statute. Some of the crimes listed in section 71.02 include:
A group of people committing any of the listed crimes in section 71.02 could face an additional organized criminal activity charge. For instance, three people conspiring to commit a burglary could be charged with burglary, a felony under Texas law, and of engaging in organized criminal activity.
A person convicted of engaging in organized criminal activities does not receive a separate penalty at sentencing, but the results are no less harsh. An organized crime charge authorizes a judge to increase the penalties for the underlying offense.
For example, if the underlying charge is a class A misdemeanor for which the offender can be sentence to a year in jail, conviction of engaging in organized criminal activities allows the judge to raise the charge to a state jail felony and sentence the person to 180 days to 2 years in a state jail. The fines a judge can impose are also increased from a $4,000 maximum for the misdemeanor to $10,000 for the state jail felony.
If you need to speak with an organized crime attorney, contact Rand Mintzer at 713-862-8880.