Murder charges in the state of Texas are tried as one of four different charges depending on the severity of the crime. The punishment for each of these charges varies accordingly. Hiring the right lawyer is often the deciding factor between acquittal and conviction. Anyone facing charges should contact a dedicated lawyer as soon as possible.
The least serious murder charge that can be levied against a defendant by the state is negligent homicide. This is considered to occur when one person causes another person’s death without intending to kill them. The defendant’s actions must be determined to be criminally negligent and to have directly caused the death. Negligent homicide is still a state felony and is punishable by up to two years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. Charges of manslaughter, a second degree felony, can be filed when a person causes another to die due to their own reckless behavior. Examples of manslaughter include drunk driving accidents or death by gunshot as the result of recklessly discharging a firearm. It is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.
Wrongful death is considered murder when someone intentionally causes the death of another person, or the victim’s death is a result of egregious bodily injury that was intentionally caused. Those convicted can face life in prison in addition to a $10,000 charge. Murder is a first-degree felony and is treated very seriously in the state of Texas. When more than one person is killed, the victim is a child under ten years of age, or one or more people are killed during the execution of a robbery, kidnapping, sexual assault, or arson, the perpetrator of the crimes can be charged with capital murder. In Texas, this is punishable by life without parole or the death penalty. There are several other determining factors that allow for prosecution of a capital crime. The killing of on-duty police officers and jurors or witnesses in a trial is also considered capital murder.
Regardless of what variety of wrongful death or murder charges are levied against a defendant, his or her best chance of beating the charges or receiving a lighter sentence should conviction occur to hire a lawyer as early as possible after the event occurs.