You do not have to be a member of a gang to be charged with organized crime in Texas. You don't even need to know the identities of the other participants in the charges. All that is required for the State to charge you with organized crime is evidence that three or more people have worked together in some capacity, in carrying out a criminal activity.
When a group of people work together to commit a criminal offense, the State can often file multiple charges, including engaging in organized criminal activity (EOCA). If you are facing such a charge – or an investigation that could lead to EOCA allegations – you need immediate and experienced legal counsel.
In Texas, Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity is a crime described in Penal Code Chapter 71.02. This charge can lead to increased penalties for people who commit or conspire to commit certain crimes if done while a member of a criminal group or a “combination.” Criminal street gangs are defined as having three or more members with common identifying signs and symbols who regularly associate in the commission of crime. Combinations involve three or more members who carry out criminal activities, but they might not even know one another!
Generally, if you are charged with participating in organized crime, it will bump up charges one level. For example, a third-degree felony crime, committed as part as organized criminal activity, could increase the charge to a second-degree felony.
When you are charged with organized crime in Texas, you are likely to receive enhanced penalties. This means that you can be punished more for being part of a criminal conspiracy, than if you had acted alone. Organized crime can be as serious as a first-degree felony, for which you can spend the rest of your life in prison.
You must have a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney who is ready to mount an aggressive defense on your behalf. If you have been charged with organized crime in Harris County contact Attorney Emily Shelton.