Murder charges in Texas bring severe penalties. The state of Texas allows for the death penalty or life in prison as consequences for a murder conviction. Anyone in the state of Texas that is charged with a homicide should contact a criminal defense attorney. If you were arrested or charged for murder or homicide, contact a murder lawyer in Mesquite, Texas, at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg at (214) 696-9253 to determine how best to proceed with your case.
Texas Murder and Homicide Charges
There are five potential charges for criminal homicide:
Under Texas Penal Code Section 19.02, murder is defined as a homicide done with malice and intent. This premeditated killing of another human being is considered a first-degree offense and is punishable by five to 99 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.
Capital murder convictions can include either life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. In the state of Texas, there are nine ways a murder charge can be elevated to a capital murder charge:
- The person intentionally committed a murder during a felony (such as burglary, robbery, arson, kidnapping, retaliation, obstruction, aggravated sexual assault, or terrorism).
- A person received payment to commit murder.
- The victim was a member of law enforcement or a first responder on duty.
- A victim was murdered during an attempt to escape from prison or jail.
- The person murdered another inmate or employee while incarcerated in prison or jail.
- A judge or justice was murdered as retaliation due to their status.
- A person murders more than one victim during the commission of a crime or something related to the same crime.
- The victim is younger than 10 years old.
Manslaughter and Criminally Negligent Homicide
Manslaughter in the state of Texas is defined as a reckless act that results in the death of another person. While manslaughter does not require intent, it does require recklessness. Recklessness is knowing that the risk of death could occur but having a conscious disregard of that risk. A manslaughter conviction is a second-degree felony and can result in two to 20 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.
To distinguish this from criminally negligent homicide, it is important to note that criminally negligent homicide requires proof of negligence and not recklessness. Criminally negligent homicide is when a person has a “gross deviation” from what an average and ordinary person would do that ultimately led to the death of another human being. A criminally negligent homicide conviction can result in 180 days to two years in jail, and up to a $10,000 fine.
Intoxication manslaughter is when a person operates a vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, or amusement park ride which intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and causes the death of another person. Intoxication manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony with a punishment of two to 20 years plus up to $10,000 in fines.
Possible Defenses to a Murder Charge
You are innocent until proven guilty. There are several defenses available to those who face a murder charge that a murder lawyer in Mesquite can provide.
- Lack of Intent. The burden of proof in a murder case is extremely high. The prosecution must prove that you intended to take a life. Accidents happen every day, with unfortunate and irreversible consequences, but they do not rise to the level of murder.
- Insanity. Under certain circumstances, an insanity defense is appropriate if you truly did not know that your behavior was wrong or understand that your actions would cause death.
- Self-Defense. Texas allows homeowners to stand their ground, and they are not required to retreat if an intruder attacks them and enters their home. Self-defense may be a valid defense to a murder charge under the appropriate circumstances.
Contact a Murder Lawyer in Mesquite, TX
If you are facing any of these offenses, you are likely terrified. You have the right to hire an attorney—you should exercise that right. Our attorneys have experience and will ensure that your rights are protected. Criminal proceedings are strict and demanding. Contact a murder lawyer in Mesquite, TX, at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to protect your rights and your future: (214) 696-9253.