engaging in organized crime in Texas

Engaging Organized Criminal Activity | Engaging in Organized Crime in Texas

What is Engaging in Organized Crime in Texas?

Engaging in Organized Crime is laid out in Section 71.02 of the Penal Code. Depending on the criminal activity that is alleged, this offense can be alleged as a State Jail Felony all the up to a capital felony offense in Texas.

Generally, these cases allege that the individual accused, with the intent to establish, maintain or participate in the profits of a combination or as a member of a criminal street gang, committed a particular offense. There are currently over 3,300 individuals in Texas prisons after being convicted of this offense, 92% of whom are men.

What is a Combination?

“Combination” means three or more persons who collaborate in carrying on criminal activities, although:

(1) participants may not know each other’s identity;

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(2) membership in the combination may change from time to time; and

(3) participants may stand in a wholesaler-retailer or other arm’s-length relationship in illicit distribution operations.

What are Profits?

“Profits” means property constituting or derived from any proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, from an offense listed in Section 71.02.

What is a Criminal Street Gang?

“Criminal street gang” means 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.

Engaging in Organized Crime

Penal Code Section 71.02 that sets out the elements for Engaging in Organized Crime in Texas. When the State alleges a person Engaged in Organized Crime, they are essentially accusing the person of committing a criminal offense with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in profits of a “combination” or “criminal street gang.”

A combination is defined as three or more persons who collaborate in carrying on criminal activities. A criminal street gang is defined as three or more persons who have a common identifying sign or symbol or identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities. Profits mean property derived from proceeds obtained directly or indirectly from organized criminal activity.

Engaging in organized criminal activity with the intent to commit capital murder alleges that a person with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in profits as a member of a criminal street gang committed the offense.

What is the punishment for Engaging in Organized Crime?

The penalty is generally one category higher than the standard penalty for the most serious offense committed. For example, if the underlying offense is a second degree felony, that offense would become a first degree offense if alleged as Engaging in Organized Crime.

One of our recent clients was one of the Waco bikers who was arrested for Engaging in Organized Crime. We are pleased to report that after a prolonged battle, the charges against our client were ultimately dismissed.

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Benson Varghese

Managing Partner at Varghese Summersett PLLC
Benson Varghese is the founder and Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a prolific writer and has authored hundreds of articles about criminal law in Texas and at the Federal level. His articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Above the Law, and have been selected as Top Blogs by the State Bar of Texas. He was named the Young Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by the Tarrant County Bar Association. Benson led the firm to become one of the 500 fastest growing businesses in the United States by Inc 500 Magazine in 2018. In the same year, the firm was named the Best Law Firm in Fort Worth by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.
Benson Varghese
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