Illegal Gambling Rings
Gambling Center Defense Attorney in Houston: Brazoria, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Harris & Montgomery Counties
In January of 2014, Hidalgo County Sheriff deputies responding to a call in Edinburg surprised a crowd of about 100 people gathered at an improvised cockfighting arena located inside a warehouse. Several arrests were made, including 54 spectators eventually charged with Class C misdemeanors but not with illegal gambling.
The owner of the warehouse and the alleged organizers of the cockfight were taken into custody, and they were later charged with conducting an illegal gambling operation, a crime that in Texas is also considered engaging in organized criminal activity.
Running an Illegal Gambling Ring in Texas
Section 71.02 of the Texas Penal Code considers Class A misdemeanors involving gambling offenses to be organized criminal actions if a defendant is suspected of profiting from the following enterprises:
- betting or wagering on sporting events
- running an online gaming business
- unauthorized lotteries
- running a gambling network
- keeping illegal game rooms
- promoting gambling in Texas
- running underground poker tournaments
It is important to remember that organized crime laws in Houston may also include conspiracies, promotions and assistance given to gambling businesses.
Gambling Punishments in Texas
When defendants are charged with organized crime offenses in Texas, they could face sentencing that is one degree higher than the original charge. For example, running a college football betting operation could lead to Class A misdemeanor charges; however, if prosecutors invoke Title 11 of the Texas Penal Code, defendants could be looking at a state jail felony if convicted. This means that they could face a fine up to $10,000 and no more than two years in a state correctional facility without the possibility of early release.
Defending against Organized Crime Charges in Texas
Criminal defense attorneys often begin their strategies with attempts to get charges against their clients dismissed. The next step is to negotiate with prosecutors to eliminate the organized crime enhancements and reducing the charges to the underlying offenses, which can be misdemeanors. Other strategies include questioning the work of undercover police officers and the rationale of prosecutors for enhancing the charges.
If you have been charged with running a gambling ring in Houston, then you could be facing some stiff penalties. Also, it’s difficult to construct an effective defense strategy without the assistance of a professional legal assistant. Let Greg Tsioros help you today by calling (832) 752-5972.