Understanding Homicide & Texas Law

Probably the most serious crime covered in the Texas penal code is murder, which is legally referred to as homicide. (Some would argue that sexual assault; especially sexual assault of a child is just as heinous) If you or someone you know is charged with criminal homicide, the penalty could range from jail time to the death penalty.

Given the severity and potential consequences of these charges, you need to hire an experienced, aggressive Galveston, TX criminal law attorney to fight for you. The information below focuses on the types of criminal homicide charges in Texas.

There are four categories of criminal homicide in the Texas penal code. Each carries a different degree of severity.

  1. Capital murder (most serious)
  2. Murder
  3. Manslaughter
  4. Criminally negligent homicide (least serious, though still very serious)

Understanding a Capital Murder Charge

Capital murder charges are the most serious type of homicide charges available in the state of Texas. They may be filed if there is sufficient evidence that an individual “intentionally or knowingly” killed a peace officer or fireman acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and the person knew that they were killing someone who was a peace officer or fireman. Capital murder charges can also be filed if an individual allegedly murdered someone while committing, or attempting to commit, any of these felonies:

  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Terroristic threat

Capital murder charges can also be filed if the individual allegedly murdered someone in exchange for money (i.e. murder for hire), murdered more than one person, or allegedly murdered a child under age of six. If an individual is convicted of capital murder, he or she can be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, or to death.

Texas is famous for the death penalty. Texas actually kills more citizens than all the rest of the states added together! This is unfortunate but is also another reason that anybody facing a death penalty case must seek knowledgeable experienced legal counsel. If you or a family member you need to hire a Galveston Defense Lawyer that has the experience and the education to properly represent your family’s interest.

About Murder Charges

In Texas, murder charges may be filed if there is sufficient evidence that you allegedly intended or knowingly caused the death of another person. The key to a murder charge is establishing intent. The prosecution has the burden of showing that you not only killed someone, but that you consciously knew you were committing an act that was intended to take a life or very likely to take a life. A murder conviction is first-degree felony meaning that you could face a prison term of five to 99 years, or even a lifetime prison sentence.

Understanding Homicide Via Manslaughter

Manslaughter charges may be filed if there is sufficient evidence that you allegedly acted recklessly and that you were aware of, and consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk that would likely result (for example, getting behind the wheel of a car after you are knowingly intoxicated and killing someone).

In fact, in Texas, there is a specific offense known as “intoxication manslaughter.” A conviction for manslaughter is a second-degree felony, which could result in a prison sentence between two and 20 years, depending on the facts of your case.

Understanding Criminally Negligent Homicide

You can be charged with criminal negligence if there is sufficient evidence that you should have been aware of a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” that the circumstances surrounding your conduct existed or the death would likely occur. Punishment for this criminal offense may include imprisonment in a state jail for 180 days (i.e. 6 months), but not longer than two years.

Facing These Serious Charges?

Contact Expert Criminal Lawyer Tad Nelson Today

If you or a loved one is facing a serious criminal charge of capital murder, murder, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide, you need to take action to protect your Constitutional rights and mount a strong defense against the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office.

For help, contact the experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates in Galveston, TX.

We’re here to help, prepared to win, and experienced in doing so.

Understanding Homicide & Texas Criminal Law