Facing the reality — or even the possibility — of murder or assault charges can paralyze you with fear. This threat is even more dire in Texas, where capital punishment remains highly popular and far too common.
Whether you are currently under investigation or you already face formal charges, seeking out the assistance of a murder and assault lawyer in Plano is critical. Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecution for dismissal or a lesser charge or, if necessary, build a strong case to defend you in court.
The sooner you engage the services of the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg — especially if the prosecutor has not filed official charges — the better your chances may be.
Call us today to get started: 214-696-9253.
How does Texas law define murder and assault?
You can find both murder and assault in the Texas Penal Code.
The TPC defines assault in Title 5, Chapter 22, Assaultive Offenses.
The statute states that you commit simple assault if you:
- Recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally cause bodily injury to someone else
- Knowingly or intentionally threaten someone else with bodily injury
- Knowingly or intentionally engage in physical contact with someone knowing it may provoke him/her
Assaultive offenses also include a variety of other crimes, including sexual assault; aggravated assault; aggravated sexual assault; child abandonment or endangerment; and injury to a child, elderly, or disabled person.
Texas law defines murder in Title 5, Chapter 19 of the TPC, Criminal Homicide. Criminal homicide includes the offenses of murder, capital murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide.
Texas statutes state that you commit murder if you:
- Knowingly or intentionally cause someone’s death
- Cause someone’s death in the course of an act in which you intended to cause bodily harm
- Cause someone’s death in the course of committing or fleeing from the commission of a felony other than manslaughter
The crime of capital murder, a capital felony, requires extraordinary circumstances such as multiple deaths, murder for compensation, or killing a peace officer or first responder.
What are the penalties for murder and assault in Texas?
The penalties and punishments for all crimes set forth in the TPC are in Title 3, Chapter 12, “Punishments.”
In Texas, simple assault is a misdemeanor, in most cases. The penalties you face depend on the class of misdemeanor.
- Class A misdemeanor: 1 year in jail and $4,000 in fines
- Class B misdemeanor: 6 months in jail and $2,000 in fines
- Class C misdemeanor: $500 fine
This offense qualifies as a third-degree felony if the victim is a peace officer, security guard, public servant, family court guardian engaged in the commission of his duties; or, under specific circumstances, a spouse or former spouse, a dating or romantic partner, or a family or household member. A third-degree felony conviction carries 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
You may face second-degree felony charges if certain aggravated circumstances apply to the act. A second-degree felony conviction carries a prison sentence of 2 to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Murder in Texas is a first-degree felony. A murder conviction in Texas can carry a life sentence in prison or a term of 5 to 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
A capital murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence without possibility or parole or, if the prosecution chooses to pursue it, the possibility of a death sentence.
What possible defenses do I have for murder or assault charges?
Unless you are prepared to potentially spend the rest of your life in prison, fighting assault or murder charges is your only option. The good news is that both murder and assault charges may provide your attorney with many avenues for mounting a legal defense.
In any encounter of this nature, your attorney will thoroughly explore the possibility of self-defense. In many cases, the court finds that a defendant’s actions were justified under the circumstances. If you reasonably believed that you were in danger or that force was necessary to protect yourself against force or the threat of force, this may provide a viable approach for defending you against murder or assault charges.
Similar to self-defense, your assault attorney may also argue that you acted to protect another person.
In some cases, the police may have illegally collected evidence against you, known as unlawful or illegal search and seizure.
Another potential option is to challenge the evidence against you. The prosecution must prove to a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed the crime you are accused of. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your lawyer can seek out mistakes in the prosecution’s case.
The state has not filed charges yet — do I need a lawyer now?
Yes. If you are under investigation for a criminal offense, engaging the services of an assault or murder lawyer may be the best way to avoid ever facing those charges.
When your attorney has the opportunity to dig into your case prior to the prosecution’s official filing, he can act quickly to find evidence in your favor. Then, by negotiating with the prosecutor, we can potentially argue for a complete dismissal of your case or at least convince the state to pursue a less serious charge.
Murder and assault lawyers have access to experienced investigators, forensic investigators, and other subject matter experts. We can identify the resources necessary to build a strong case in your defense and ensure your rights under the law.
Speak with a Plano assault and murder lawyer today.
A local Plano murder and assault lawyer will provide the support and resources you need to fight these frightening charges. At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we understand the seriousness of your case. We also understand how frightening and intimidating the criminal prosecution process is.
You can rest assured that we will work tirelessly on your behalf and commit all available resources to your defense. We offer complimentary consultations for clients facing criminal charges, to give you the opportunity to learn more about your options. Contact our office today to schedule a time to speak with one of our murder and assault lawyers in Plano: 214-696-9253.