Texas Penal Code 32.441 – Illegal Recruitment of an Athlete
WHAT IS ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT OF AN ATHLETE IN TEXAS?
Illegal recruitment of an athlete occurs when an athlete solicits or agrees to accept an unauthorized benefit in exchange for enrolling in a particular school, or when a coach or school representative offers to confer an unauthorized benefit on an athlete to influence enrollment decisions.
WHAT IS THE ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT OF AN ATHLETE LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 32.441. ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT OF AN ATHLETE.
(a) A person commits an offense if, without the consent of the governing body or a designee of the governing body of an institution of higher education, the person intentionally or knowingly solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from another on an agreement or understanding that the benefit will influence the conduct of the person in enrolling in the institution and participating in intercollegiate athletics.
(b) A person commits an offense if he offers, confers, or agrees to confer any benefit the acceptance of which is an offense under Subsection (a).
(c) It is an exception to prosecution under this section that the person offering, conferring, or agreeing to confer a benefit and the person soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept a benefit are related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Chapter 573, Government Code.
(d) It is an exception to prosecution under Subsection (a) that, not later than the 60th day after the date the person accepted or agreed to accept a benefit, the person contacted a law enforcement agency and furnished testimony or evidence about the offense.
(e) An offense under this section is a:
(1) Class C misdemeanor if the value of the benefit is less than $100;
(2) Class B misdemeanor if the value of the benefit is $100 or more but less than $750;
(3) Class A misdemeanor if the value of the benefit is $750 or more but less than $2,500;
(4) state jail felony if the value of the benefit is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000;
(5) felony of the third degree if the value of the benefit is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000;
(6) felony of the second degree if the value of the benefit is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000; or
(7) felony of the first degree if the value of the benefit is $300,000 or more.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT OF AN ATHLETE IN TEXAS?
The penalty category for illegal recruitment of an athlete depends on the value of the benefit offered, solicited, conferred, or accepted. If the value of the benefit is:
- Less than $100:
- Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine, and no jail time;
- $100 to $749:
- Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in county jail;
- $750 to $2499:
- Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail;
- $2500 to $29,999:
- State jail felony, punishable by 180 days to two years in a state jail facility;
- $30,000 to $149,000:
- Third degree felony, punishable by two to ten years in prison;
- $150,000 to $299,999:
- Second degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison;
- $300,000 or more:
- First degree felony, punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT OF AN ATHLETE IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for illegal recruitment of an athlete increases with the value of benefit offered, solicited, conferred, or accepted:
- Class C misdemeanor, if the value is less than $100:
- maximum fine of $500, no jail time;
- Class B misdemeanor, if the value is $100 or more but less than $750:
- up to 180 days in jail, maximum fine of $2,000;
- Class A misdemeanor, if the value is $750 or more but less than $2,500:
- up to one year in jail, maximum fine of $4,000;
- State jail felony, if the value is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000:
- 180 days to two years in a state jail facility, maximum fine of $10,000;
- Third degree felony, if the value is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000:
- two to ten years in prison, maximum fine of $10,000;
- Second degree felony, if the value is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000:
- two to 20 years in prison, maximum fine of $10,000;
- First degree felony, if the value is $300,000 or more:
- five to 99 years or life in prison, maximum fine of $10,000.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT OF AN ATHLETE IN TEXAS?
A person charged with illegal recruitment of an athlete may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction.
- What is the maximum length of probation for illegal recruitment of an athlete in Texas? If a person is convicted of a Class C misdemeanor, the only punishment is a maximum fine of $500. But a person may be placed on probation for up to two years if convicted of a Class A or Class B misdemeanor.For state jail and third degree felony illegal recruitment charges, the probation term may range from two to five years, and may not exceed ten years for second degree and first degree felonies.
- What is the maximum length of deferred adjudication for illegal recruitment of an athlete in Texas? To avoid a conviction for illegally recruiting an athlete, a person may plead guilty or nolo contendere (“no contest”) to a judge, and be placed on deferred adjudication. The period of deferred adjudication may not exceed 180 days for a Class C misdemeanor, or two years for a Class A or Class B misdemeanor.The deferred adjudication term for a state jail felony is between two and five years, with the possibility of extending it up to ten years. The deferred adjudication term may not exceed ten years for first degree, second degree, and third degree felonies.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT OF AN ATHLETE IN TEXAS?
The law creates exceptions to punishment for illegal recruitment of an athlete. It is an exception if the athlete and the person offering to confer or conferring a benefit are related within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity. This means, for example, a grandparent who works for a college or university may offer a benefit to his or her grandchild to be an athlete at that school, without exposure to criminal charges.
Under the second exception, an athlete who accepts an illegal benefit is exempt from prosecution for illegal recruitment of an athlete if he or she reports the conduct to law enforcement within 60 days, and agrees to testify against the coach, agent, or other school official.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT OF AN ATHLETE IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for illegal recruitment of an athlete categorized as a misdemeanor is two years. If categorized as a felony, the limitation period is three years.
ILLEGAL RECRUITMENT OF AN ATHLETE IN TEXAS
College and professional athletics have become billion-dollar industries, which has led to aggressive recruiting of young athletes. Texas law criminalizes offering or accepting unregulated and unauthorized benefits in favor of ethical considerations and preventing extortion of talent.
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DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15
Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.
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Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.
Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.
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Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
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