There are no words to describe the stress and anxiety that come along with facing murder charges in Texas. As a state known for its overzealous police and prosecutors as well as liberal use of the death penalty, those facing Texas murder charges must act quickly to begin planning their defense. At the Dallas criminal defense law firm of Guest & Gray, we represent clients charged with murder and capital murder, ensuring that they receive the defense they need, deserve, and are entitled to. With decades of collective experience handling all types of homicide cases, Guest and Gray attorneys are uniquely qualified to defend you from the state’s allegations.How is Murder Defined in Texas?
Texas Penal Code § 19.02 is the state’s murder statute. The law provides three circumstances in which someone can be charged with murder.
- 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.
In each of these three situations, there is some level of planning, or premeditation. This sets murder charges apart from other homicide charges in Texas.
Murder is typically a first-degree felony offense, punishable by a term of imprisonment between 5 and 99 years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the defendant can prove that they acted under the “immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause,” the offense will be graded as a felony of the second degree. A second-degree felony is punishable by a term of imprisonment between 2 and 20 years in addition to a fine of up to $10,000.Capital Murder in Texas
Under Texas law, capital murder charges are brought when a person commits a murder under certain circumstances. Texas Penal Code § 19.03 provides a list of ten situations in which a defendant who knowingly or intentionally causes another’s death can be charged with capital murder:
- A person kills a police officer who is in the process of carrying out their legal duties;
- A person kills another in the process of committing a kidnapping, burglary, aggravated sexual assault or certain other serious felonies;
- A person commits a murder for remuneration (some form of compensation);
- A person commits murder while attempting to escape from a penal institution;
- An inmate kills another while incarcerated;
- A person kills more than one person during a single course of conduct;
- A person kills another who is under the age of 15; or
- A person kills a judge or prosecutor in retaliation.
Those convicted of capital murder face one of two sentences: life in prison without any possibility of parole or the death penalty. Additionally, regardless of the other crimes charged, a jury overseeing a capital murder trial can convict the defendant of any other homicide charge if they do not find they were guilty of capital murder.Respected Attorneys Representing Clients Facing Murder and Capital Murder Charges in Dallas, Collin, Kaufman and Rockwall Counties
If you or a loved one is facing Texas murder charges, it is essential that you reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The prosecution will take your case seriously, and so should you. At Guest and Gray, our team of attorneys consists of veteran criminal defense lawyers who previously served as public defenders and prosecutors, giving us unrivaled experience in the courtroom. We understand what it takes to beat even the toughest Texas murder cases and have the skill, knowledge and experience to provide you with the aggressive representation you need. 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.