This article offers and overview on Texas Gang Law.
Gang Law 1: You cannot be involved in groups that are made for the purpose of committing crime. Here is the relevant Gang Law that states this rule in legal terms:
Sec. 71.02. ENGAGING IN ORGANIZED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY.
(a) A person commits an offense if, with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination or as a member of a criminal street gang, the person commits or conspires to commit one or more of the following:
(1) murder, capital murder, arson, aggravated robbery, robbery, burglary, theft, aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, forgery, deadly conduct, assault punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, burglary of a motor vehicle, or unauthorized use of a motor vehicle;
(2) any gambling offense punishable as a Class A misdemeanor;
(3) promotion of prostitution, aggravated promotion of prostitution, or compelling prostitution;
(4) unlawful manufacture, transportation, repair, or sale of firearms or prohibited weapons;
(5) unlawful manufacture, delivery, dispensation, or distribution of a controlled substance or dangerous drug, or unlawful possession of a controlled substance or dangerous drug through forgery, fraud, misrepresentation, or deception;
(5-a) causing the unlawful delivery, dispensation, or distribution of a controlled substance or dangerous drug in violation of Subtitle B, Title 3, Occupations Code;
(6) any unlawful wholesale promotion or possession of any obscene material or obscene device with the intent to wholesale promote the same;
Gang Law 2: If a Judge Orders that you will not be involved in a gang, and then you get involved with a gang, the violation of the order is a crime. Below is the Texas Gang Law primary source:
Sec. 71.021. VIOLATION OF COURT ORDER ENJOINING ORGANIZED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly violates a temporary or permanent order issued under Section 125.065(a) or (b), Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
(b) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
Gang Law 3: You cannot ask someone to join a gang. Asking them is a crime. Below is the penal code law against asking someone to join a gang:
Sec. 71.022. COERCING, INDUCING, OR SOLICITING MEMBERSHIP IN A CRIMINAL STREET GANG. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly causes, enables, encourages, recruits, or solicits another person to become a member of a criminal street gang which, as a condition of initiation, admission, membership, or continued membership, requires the commission of any conduct which constitutes an offense punishable as a Class A misdemeanor or a felony.
(a-1) A person commits an offense if, with intent to coerce, induce, or solicit a child to actively participate in the activities of a criminal street gang, the person:
(1) threatens the child or a member of the child’s family with imminent bodily injury; or
(2) causes bodily injury to the child or a member of the child’s family.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), an offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.
(c) A second or subsequent offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.
(d) In this section:
(1) “Child” means an individual younger than 17 years of age.
(2) “Family” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.003, Family Code.
Gang Law 4: You Cannot be the President of a Gang. Below is the Texas Penal Code on Directing Gang Activity:
Sec. 71.023. DIRECTING ACTIVITIES OF CERTAIN CRIMINAL STREET GANGS. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises a criminal street gang or members of a criminal street gang with the intent to benefit, promote, or further the interests of the criminal street gang or to increase the person’s standing, position, or status in the criminal street gang.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.
(c) Notwithstanding Section 71.01, in this section, “criminal street gang” means:
(1) an organization that:
(A) has more than 10 members whose names are included in an intelligence database under Chapter 61, Code of Criminal Procedure;
(B) has a hierarchical structure that has been documented in an intelligence database under Chapter 61, Code of Criminal Procedure;
(C) engages in profit-sharing among two or more members of the organization; and
(D) in one or more regions of this state served by different regional councils of government, continuously or regularly engages in conduct:
(i) that constitutes an offense listed in Section 3g(a)(1), Article 42.12, Code of Criminal Procedure;
(ii) in which it is alleged that a deadly weapon is used or exhibited during the commission of or immediate flight from the commission of any felony offense; or
(iii) that is punishable as a felony of the first or second degree under Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code; or
(2) an organization that, in collaboration with an organization described by Subdivision (1), engages in conduct or commits an offense or conspires to engage in conduct or commit an offense described by Subdivision (1)(D)
Gang Law 5: If you QUIT a gang before committing a crime in the gang, you have a defense to any charge brought against you alleging that you were in the gang.
Sec. 71.05. RENUNCIATION DEFENSE.
(a) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Section 71.02 that under circumstances manifesting a voluntary and complete renunciation of the actor’s criminal objective, the actor withdrew from the combination before commission of an offense listed in Section 71.02(a) and took further affirmative action that prevented the commission of the offense.
(b) For the purposes of this section and Subsection (d) of Section 71.02, renunciation is not voluntary if it is motivated in whole or in part:
(1) by circumstances not present or apparent at the inception of the actor’s course of conduct that increase the probability of detection or apprehension or that make more difficult the accomplishment of the objective; or
(2) by a decision to postpone the criminal conduct until another time or to transfer the criminal act to another but similar objective or victim.
(c) Evidence that the defendant withdrew from the combination before commission of an offense listed in Section 71.02(a) and made substantial effort to prevent the commission of an offense listed in Section 71.02(a) shall be admissible as mitigation at the hearing on punishment if the actor has been found guilty under Section 71.02, and in the event of a finding of renunciation under this subsection, the punishment shall be one grade lower than that provided under Section 71.02.
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