Homicide Charges in Texas
No type of crime in Texas is taken as seriously as homicide charges. If you are convicted of homicide charges in Texas, you could potentially pay the ultimate price. However, there are five different types of homicide charges in Texas, and it is essential to understand each one. At Guest and Gray, our team of criminal defense attorneys is comprised of highly-experienced attorneys who are unceasingly dedicated to advocating on behalf of our clients.The Five Types of Homicide Charges in Texas
Homicide is always a serious crime; however, Texas law breaks down homicides into five different categories, depending on the circumstances.Intoxication Manslaughter
Texas Penal Code § 49.08 provides that someone is guilty of intoxication manslaughter if they cause the death of another by accident or mistake while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The prosecution must also prove that the driver’s intoxication was a causative factor in the alleged victim’s death. Thus, essentially intoxication manslaughter is equivalent to a drunk driving accident resulting in death. Intoxication manslaughter is a felony of the second degree.Criminally Negligent Homicide
Under Penal Code § 19.05, criminally negligent homicide involves the death of another person due to the defendant’s criminal negligence. Penal Code § 6.03 provides that someone acts with criminal negligence if they fail to be aware of a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” resulting in a “gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances.” Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony.Manslaughter
The Texas manslaughter law is contained in Penal Code 19.04. The crime of manslaughter occurs when someone recklessly causes the death of another person. In this context, recklessness involves the conscious disregard of a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” that, again, constitutes a “gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances.” Manslaughter is a felony of the second degree.Murder
Under Penal Code § 19.02, the government can bring murder charges in three circumstances:
- A person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual;
- A person who intends to cause serious bodily injury commits a clearly dangerous act that causes the death of an individual; or
- A person commits a dangerous act in the process of committing a felony (other than manslaughter) that causes the death of another.
Murder is a felony of the first degree unless the defendant proves that they acted under the “immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause,” in which case the offense is graded as a felony of the second degree.Capital Murder
Capital murder is the most serious criminal offense in Texas. Under Penal Code § 19.03, capital murder is when a person knowingly and intentionally causes the death of another under one of ten scenarios. Some of the situations in which a murder may become a capital murder include:
- The victim was a police officer who was carrying out their duties at the time;
- The defendant was in the process of committing a kidnapping, burglary, aggravated sexual assault or certain other serious felony offenses;
- The defendant committed the murder for a reward;
- The defendant committed the murder while trying to escape prison;
- The defendant killed more than one person during the commission of the crime; or
- The victim was under 15 years of age.
Capital murder is a capital felony, punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.Aggressive Texas Homicide Defense Attorneys Serving Clients in Dallas, Collin, Kaufman and Rockwall Counties
If you were recently charged with murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide or any other homicide charges in Texas, contact an attorney at Guest and Gray for immediate assistance. At Guest and Gray, we aggressively defend our clients’ rights at every stage of the process and have more than a decade of hands-on experience handling some of the most serious homicide cases. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Forney criminal defense lawyer, give us a call at (972) 564-4644 today. You can also reach us through our online form. We proudly represent clients in Dallas, Collin, Kaufman and Rockwall Counties.