Conviction Under the Law of Parties In Texas

When the evidence is sufficient to support both primary and party theories of liability, the trial court does not err in submitting an instruction on the law of parties. Ransom v. State, 920 S.W.2d 288, 302 (Tex.Crim.App. 1994), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 1030, 117 S. Ct. 587, 136 L. Ed. 2d 516 (1996). Evidence is sufficient to convict under the law of parties where the defendant is physically present at the commission of the offense and encourages its commission by words or other agreement. Id. "In determining whether the accused participated as a party, the court may look to events occurring before, during and after the commission of the offense, and may rely on actions of the defendant which show an understanding and common design to do the prohibited act." Id. Further, circumstantial evidence may be used to prove party status. Id.