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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 17323
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My son was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity

Customer Question

My son was charged with "engaging in organized criminal activity" & has a $100,000 bond on him. What could he have done to have such a charge brought against him? I know he got involved in running forged checks thru his checking account but that is all I know at this point.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
From the charge and the bond, it sounds like they believe your son is involved in a money laundering racket, a part of an organized crime effort.

Is this a state or Federal charge?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

OK..I know that he had friends to convince him into opening a checking account & I know that forged checks made out to my son were run thru his checking account. Could there be more to this that what I know at this point? Why is the bond so high?

 

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
The bail is probably high because of the seriousness of the offense.

Is this a state or Federal charge? That could have some bearing on the bail as well. If you answer that question I can hopefully come up with more specific information.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am very naive where the law is concerned. What are the chances of the charges being dropped by the Grand Jury on this case? There are at least 2 other people involved in this mess, could he "plea bargain"?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
I can't really be sure of any specifics unless you tell me whether this is a state or Federal case.

Was his arraignment in a state court or a Federal Court?

Once I know that, I can look up some law for you and give you an idea of what he's going to be up against.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Once again I am naive. I am not sure, I know the DA said it was a County Sheriff case!?!? Does that help? I have not been told it is a federal or state case.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
The Federal government as well as the state of Texas both have organized crime laws and can prosecute for this offense. If the so-called criminal organization is a big outfit, and there is a great deal of check fraud involved, the Federal government tends to prosecute. Their penalties are much more stiff than the state, in general. And their plea possibilites are more limited as well.

This sounds to me like a state case.

The bail is high because the state is alleging that your son is part of a group of criminals working together as an organized unit to defraud and pass forged checks. A regular check forgery case is a Class 3 Felony in Texas. Under this section, as part of organized criminal activity, it gets bumped up a level. So your son is fighting a class 2 Felony.

I am going to post the relevant section of the law he was charged with below. I will highlight the elements of the crime that the state will have to prove here to show that he was part of an effort engaging in organized criminal activity:

§ 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, he 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;

Text of subsection (b) as amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 761,
§ 3

(b) Except as provided in Subsection (c) of this section, an
offense under this section is one category higher than the most
serious offense listed in Subdivisions (1) through (10) of
Subsection (a) of this section that was committed
, [This is what I mentioned above. His forgery charge, a class 3 felony if all by itself, would move up one category because it's part of a bigger picture and become a class 2 felony as a result].

This will be indicted (placed before the Grand Jury). There is always a possibility of a plea offer. The question is whether they will give him one he'll be happy to take.

__________

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I was told he was facing a 1st Degree Felony. What is the difference between 1st & 2nd Degree felonies?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
If you were told that your son is facing a First Degree felony, the DA is right.

This would have to do with the value of the money that was illegally appropriated. If it was high enough, then that would be a second degree felony, which would then get bumped up to a first degree felony

A 2nd Degree felony carries a penalty of 2 - 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A 1st Degree felony carries a penalty of 5 - 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

I'm leaving after I send this to walk my dogs. Back in about 15 minutes or so if you need to follow-up.

_____

If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.

This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice.
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 17323
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Zoey_ JD and 4 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much for your time in answering the questions. I appreciate your time.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for accepting the answer. The charges are very serious, but depending on your son's prior contact with the system and what your son's lawyer can negotiate with the DAs office, the state may be willing to come off of the top charge and work out something on a 2nd degree level.

Good luck to both you and your son.

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