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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Texas Penal Code 7.24 - Defense to Corporate Criminal Law - Houston Criminal Attorney

Texas Penal Code 7.24 - Houston Criminal Attorney - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law discusses Texas Penal Code Sec. 7.24


Summary:


Texas Penal Code Section 7.24 is one such provision that offers a unique defense for corporations, associations, limited liability companies, and other business entities. Let's break down this section into key points to understand its implications:


1. Affirmative Defense: Texas Penal Code Section 7.24 serves as an affirmative defense. This means that it allows the accused business entity to assert its innocence and shift the burden of proof onto the prosecution.


2. Applicability: This defense applies specifically to prosecutions under Section 7.22(a)(1) or (a)(2) of the Texas Penal Code. These sections typically deal with criminal offenses committed by a corporation, association, limited liability company, or other business entity.


3. High Managerial Agent: To utilize this defense, the accused entity must demonstrate that a high managerial agent, someone with significant supervisory responsibility over the subject matter of the offense, was involved in the situation.


4. Due Diligence: The crux of this defense lies in the concept of "due diligence." In essence, it asserts that the high managerial agent took reasonable and diligent steps to prevent the commission of the offense in question.


5. Preventing Criminal Responsibility: By proving that the high managerial agent exercised due diligence, the business entity seeks to absolve itself of criminal responsibility. This means that if the agent acted responsibly and took necessary precautions, the entity should not be held liable for the offense.


6. Legislative History: Texas Penal Code Section 7.24 has evolved over the years. It was initially enacted in 1974 and has undergone several amendments since, with the most recent changes occurring in 2019. These amendments reflect the legislature's intent to keep pace with changing legal dynamics.


In summary, Texas Penal Code Section 7.24 provides a valuable defense mechanism for business entities facing criminal prosecution. It allows them to argue that they should not be held criminally responsible if they can demonstrate that their high managerial agent diligently worked to prevent the commission of the offense. Understanding such legal provisions is crucial for both legal professionals and business owners to navigate the complexities of criminal law effectively.


Statute:


Texas Penal Code Sec. 7.24. DEFENSE TO CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY OF CORPORATION, ASSOCIATION, LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, OR OTHER BUSINESS ENTITY. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution of a corporation, an association, a limited liability company, or another business entity under Section 7.22(a)(1) or (a)(2) that the high managerial agent having supervisory responsibility over the subject matter of the

offense employed due diligence to prevent its commission. Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 913, ch. 342, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1975; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994. Amended by: Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 112 (S.B. 1258), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2019.

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