What Is the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter in Texas? | Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

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What Is the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter in Texas?

 Posted on December 29,2021 in Criminal Defense

TX defense lawyerMurder and manslaughter are both very serious felony charges that can lead to extended prison sentences. Manslaughter, however, is seen as slightly less serious than outright murder. While both are considered forms of homicide, capital murder, murder, and manslaughter are three distinct offenses in Texas. Trying to determine which charge applies to a given series of events that resulted in a death can be difficult, as many elements of murder and manslaughter overlap. Much of the distinction comes down to the defendant’s intent and state of mind.

If you are facing any homicide charge, your freedom and future depend on a strong legal defense. Securing aggressive legal counsel should be your first priority.

What Does Murder Mean in Texas?

In Texas, murder generally applies to situations where the defendant has knowingly and willingly caused the death of another person. Murder charges can also apply if the defendant intended to cause the victim serious bodily harm, or was in the course of committing a different felony when he killed someone as a result. So, murder does not necessarily mean actually intending to kill - a defendant who intended only to seriously hurt someone may be liable for murder if the victim instead dies.

Capital murder is the most serious form of this crime, and it can result in the death penalty. For this charge, an aggravating circumstance must exist. Examples include killing multiple victims or murder-for-hire schemes.

How Is Manslaughter Different?

Manslaughter involves causing another person’s death recklessly rather than intentionally. Often, manslaughter is charged when the defendant was engaged in dangerous conduct that he should have known could get someone killed, such as firing a gun into the air or setting an out-of-control fire. In some cases, a skilled attorney can make a case that a murder charge should be reduced to manslaughter if the defendant’s intent at the time of the homicide is unclear or dubious.

Texas also recognizes a special type of homicide known as intoxication manslaughter. This is when a person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol recklessly causes another person’s death. This is often charged when a drunk driver kills someone but does have other applications.

Manslaughter still carries a two- to 20-year prison term as well as a fine of up to $10,000. If you are convicted of manslaughter, you are almost certain to serve some time in prison before becoming eligible for parole due to mandatory minimum sentencing.

Call an Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of any type of homicide offense, BRCK Criminal Defense Attorneys can put forth a strong defense on your behalf. Our Jourdanton criminal defense lawyers are experienced at defending those accused of even the most serious crimes. Call us at 830-769-1010 to arrange a free consultation.





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