Gang Membership in Texas
According to Texas law if a person is a member of a criminal street gang and commits or conspires to commit any number of crimes it is considered organized criminal activity.
These crimes include murder, arson, robbery, burglary, theft, kidnapping, assault, sexual assault, forgery, deadly conduct, gambling, prostitution, unlawful manufacture transportation repair or sale of firearms or prohibited weapons, unlawful manufacture delivery dispensation or distribution of controlled substances, possession of a controlled substance or dangerous drug through forgery, fraud, misrepresentation or deception, unlawful wholesale promotion or possession of obscene material, and more.
It is also considered a crime under Texas law to solicit a minor with intent to recruit a person into gang membership or use threats or intimidation to promote gang related conduct.
There are several different types of gangs in Texas. These gangs differ slightly in their focus and the type of activity they are involved in.
Delinquent youth gangs are groups of young people, mostly juveniles, who hang out together wearing identifying signs such as similar clothing, or hand signals. They engage in delinquent or undesirable behavior such as truancy and vandalism to the detriment of neighborhood residents and school officials. Often these members have not committed serious crimes.
Turf based gangs are groups of young people including both juveniles and/or adults which are more organized, usually with one or more leaders, identifying signs, name and clothing styles. These groups are associated with a territory which they defend against rival gangs. These types of gang members often participate in organized vandalism such as graffiti, assault and sometimes more serious crimes such as homicide or murder.
Gain oriented gangs include both juveniles and adults with organized leadership repeatedly engage serious criminal activities both as a group and individually primarily for economic gain. These activities include robbery, theft and distribution and sale of controlled substances or drugs.
Finally, violent or hate gangs are groups of people including both juveniles and adults that collectively engage in acts of violence toward specific groups of individuals associated with racial, religious, political or other sectors of society. These gangs often participate in serious crimes of property destruction, harassment, assault, or even homicide. Geographical turf and/or material gain are not primary objectives.
John Q. Lawyer
Attorney at Law
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