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How Do Texas Homicide Charges Change Based on Intent?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Floresville murder defense attorney

It is fairly common knowledge that taking the life of another person is illegal throughout the United States. Although murder charges may seem fairly cut and dry, there are actually different types of charges that one can face for killing another person, and these disparities are often tied to the intent of the guilty party. The legal term for killing someone is criminal homicide. The best way to fight any homicide case is to find an experienced attorney within your state who understands the details that go along with the charge you may be facing. By working with a skilled lawyer, you may be able to reduce your sentence or even obtain a not guilty verdict. However, it is also important to have a personal understanding of what your charge entails to be fully informed about the possible legal consequences.

Murder

There are three scenarios that could result in murder charges in Texas. A person may be charged with murder if he or she has purposely and knowingly caused the death of another person; intended to cause serious physical injury and killed a person in the process; or attempted to commit a felony (other than manslaughter) and killed a person while doing so. The offense of homicide is a first-degree felony, and a conviction can result in at least five years (and possibly life) in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Capital Murder

Depending on the details of the situation, a homicide charge may be increased to capital murder. This is considered a capital felony, meaning the offender may face the death penalty. Capital murder may be charged in the following situations:

  1. The victim was a fireman or member of law enforcement.

  2. A person is accused of intentionally murdering someone while committing a robbery, burglary, or kidnapping.

  3. The murder was allegedly committed in exchange for money, or a person was accused of hiring someone to kill another person.

  4. The murder was allegedly committed while trying to escape from prison, or the alleged victim of an incarcerated offender was an employee of a penal institution or another prisoner.

  5. The alleged murder victim was under the age of 15.

  6. The murder was allegedly committed in retaliation for or on account of the status or service of a legal official such as a judge or justice of the supreme court.

Manslaughter

Manslaughter is technically considered murder; however, the intention is much different than the previously mentioned charges. A person may be found guilty of manslaughter if they have recklessly caused the death of another. In other words, death was unintentional. A common example of this is hitting another driver who dies as a result of the car accident. This is considered a second-degree felony, and it may result in a prison sentence of 2-20 years and a $10,000 fine.

Contact a Karnes City Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Any of the aforementioned offenses tied to criminal homicide are some of the most serious charges one can face in Texas. Not only can they result in significant jail time and fines, but in some cases, an alleged offender can face the death penalty. Our BCP Criminal Defense Attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience in criminal law, and we fight relentlessly on our clients’ behalf. If you are facing murder charges, your first step should be to hire one of our knowledgeable and diligent Karnes County murder defense attorneys. Call us today at 830-769-1010 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.19.htm

https://texaspolitics.utexas.edu/archive/html/just/features/0201_01/crimeandp.html 

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