Homicide is the most serious offense in the criminal justice system, which is why it is so important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you find yourself facing murder charges. A lawyer can explain the most important things you should know about facing murder charges in Texas, including:
There Are Four Different Types Of Murder In Texas
Texas law explains that there are four different types of criminal homicide recognized in the state:
Murder – A person commits murder if they intentionally or knowingly cause the death of someone else, intend to cause serious bodily injury that imperils life and kill the person, or commits a felony during which he or she commits an act clearly dangerous to life and causes the death of the person.
Capital murder – Capital murder occurs when special circumstances exist, such as the victim is a peace officer, more than one person is killed during the criminal act, or the victim is under ten years of age. Capital murder can also be charged if the defendant was committing a violent crime, such as kidnapping, robbery, or aggravated sexual assault when the death occurred. It can also be charged if the person committed the crime for payment.
Manslaughter – Manslaughter is a lesser offense and is charged when someone recklessly causes the death of another individual. There is no intent to kill or premeditation.
Criminally negligent homicide – If a person was criminally negligent and this resulted in another person’s death, this offense can be charged. For example, a person may be charged with criminally negligent homicide if they accidentally shot someone else or were driving recklessly and collided with another vehicle.
The Penalties Are Harsh For Those Convicted Of Murder
The potential penalties for murder in Texas are harsh, up to and including the death penalty. When the death penalty is not sought, other potential penalties may include:
- A fine up to $10,000
- A prison sentence between 5 and 99 years
- Life in prison
You May Have A Defense Against a Murder Charge
Depending on the circumstances, you may have a variety of defenses to murder charges, such as:
- Lack of intent
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of capacity
- Defense of others
- Heat of passion
- Temporary insanity
The potential defenses that may apply to your case depend on the individual circumstances.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Regarding Your Murder Charges
Because the stakes are so high when you are facing murder charges, it is crucial that you entrust your defense only to a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in handling serious criminal cases. The knowledgeable state and federal attorneys at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, can investigate your case, safeguard your interests, and fight for the best outcome in your case.