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Texas Penal Code Art. 7.02 CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONDUCT OF ANOTHER

As a criminal defense attorney, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the laws governing criminal responsibility in Texas. One such crucial statute is Texas Penal Code Sec. 7.02, which deals with the criminal responsibility for the conduct of another individual. This statute outlines the circumstances under which a person may be held criminally accountable for the actions of another. In this blog post, we will explore the key elements of Texas Penal Code Sec. 7.02.

Texas Penal Code Sec. 7.02: Unpacking the Law

Texas Penal Code Sec. 7.02 addresses three scenarios where an individual can be held criminally responsible for the actions of another person:

1. Causing or Aiding Another's Prohibited Conduct

Under this provision, an individual can be held responsible for an offense committed by someone else if they cause or aid an innocent or nonresponsible person to engage in conduct that is prohibited by the definition of the offense. In this case, the person's level of culpability required for the offense is crucial in determining their criminal responsibility.

2. Acting with Intent to Promote or Assist

According to this aspect of the statute, if an individual acts with the intention to promote or assist the commission of an offense, they can be held responsible for the offense committed by the other person. The law considers actions such as soliciting, encouraging, directing, aiding, or attempting to aid another person in committing the offense as acts of criminal responsibility.

3. Failure to Prevent an Offense

The third scenario involves individuals who have a legal duty to prevent the commission of an offense. If they fail to make a reasonable effort to prevent the offense from occurring and, in doing so, act with the intent to promote or assist its commission, they can be held criminally responsible for the offense.

Case Law:

Circumstantial evidence alone may be used to prove that a person is a party to an offense. Beardsley v. State,738 S.W.2d 681, 684 (Tex.Crim.App. 1987) (citing Wygal v. State,555 S.W.2d 465 (Tex.Crim.App. 1977)). Furthermore, a person can be convicted as a party even if the indictment does not explicitly charge him as a party. Marable v. State,85 S.W.3d 287, 288 (Tex.Crim.App. 2002). The state suggests, in its first ground for review, that the court of appeals's reading of TEX. PENAL CODE § 7.01 erroneously requires appellant to actually enter the complainant's house before he can be found guilty of burglary of a habitation under the law of parties

Powell v. State, 194 S.W.3d 503, 506 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006).

The Statute:

Texas Penal Code Sec. 7.02.
CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONDUCT OF ANOTHER.

(a)A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the
conduct of another if:
(1) acting with the kind of culpability required for the
offense, he causes or aids an innocent or nonresponsible person to
engage in conduct prohibited by the definition of the offense;
(2) acting with intent to promote or assist the commission
of the offense, he solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts
to aid the other person to commit the offense; or
(3) having a legal duty to prevent commission of the
offense and acting with intent to promote or assist its commission,
he fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent commission of the
offense.

(b) If, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one
felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all
conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed, though
having no intent to commit it, if the offense was committed in
furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been
anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.
Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1,
1994.

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