State Criminal Defense Practice Areas
Texas Criminal Homicide Attorney
Pursuant to Texas law, an act of criminal homicide is considered a malum in se offense, meaning that it is thought to be wrong in itself. People charged with homicide crimes such as murder and vehicular manslaughter are often judged by the public to be guilty, before ever stepping foot in a courtroom. As stressful and terrifying as the situation can be for anyone, fighting back with every legal option at your disposal has never been more important. An effective homicide defense case requires extensive courtroom experience, innovative legal strategies and a clear presentation of facts to support a reduced charge or an acquittal.
In the most general terms, Texas recognizes four types of Criminal Homicide, which are outlined in the Texas Penal Code:
- Capital Murder
- Criminally Negligent Homicide
A person commits the offense of Murder if the person:
- Intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual;
- Intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual; or
- Commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission or attempt, he commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual.
In the first two instances above, the person must have the intent to either kill or inflict serious bodily injury. However, the third category encompasses what is often referred to as “the felony murder doctrine,” which holds that a person is guilty of murder if he or she attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual, in the course of committing an unrelated felony.
In the State of Texas, a person convicted of Murder will be charged with a first-degree felony and could face a prison term of 5 to 99 years, or life in prison.
A person commits the offense of Capital Murder if the person intentionally or knowingly:
- Murders a peace officer or fireman who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer or fireman;
- Commits murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat;
- Commits a murder for hire;
- Murders more than one person:
- During the same criminal transaction; or
- During different criminal transactions but the murders are committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct; or
- Murders an individual under six years of age.
In the State of Texas, Capital Murder differs from murder in terms of punishment. A person convicted of Capital Murder can be punished by imprisonment for life without parole or by death. In contrast, a person convicted of murder in the State of Texas will not face the possibility of the death penalty if they are ultimately convicted.
Criminally Negligent Homicide
A person commits the offense of Criminally Negligent Homicide is he or she causes the death of an individual by criminal negligence. A person is said to be ‘criminally negligent’ when he or she should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances surrounding his conduct exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
In the State of Texas, a person convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide will be charged with a state jail felony and could face a prison term of not less than 180 days but not more than 2 years.
A person commits the offense of Manslaughter if he or she recklessly causes the death of another. A person acts ‘recklessly’ when he or she is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances surrounding his or her conduct exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
In the State of Texas, a person convicted of Manslaughter will be charged with a second-degree felony and could face a prison term of 2 to 20 years.
CALL BRIAN WALKER LAW TODAY!
When facing Criminal Homicide charges, an experienced and intelligent defense team is of the utmost importance. If you or a loved one has been charged with Criminal Homicide in Texas it is important to act fast. The team at Brian Walker Law has experience needed to provide you or your loved one with the best defense. Do not hesitate, call Brian Walker Law so we can start fighting for you!