In Texas, a murder charge carries heavy consequences — including the possibility of the death penalty or life in prison. A murder charge is incredibly serious, as are all of the “lesser” crimes that may be charged if you are involved in a situation that caused another person to die. Due to the gravity of these crimes and their potential penalties, anyone charged with a homicide in Texas will need the assistance of a seasoned criminal defense attorney.
Texas Homicide Charges
There are five potential charges related to homicide or the taking of a life in Texas:
- Capital Murder: a capital felony, with a punishment range including life in prison or death
- Murder: a first degree felony, with a punishment range including either life or between 5 and 99 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Capital Murder can occur in a number of ways, including when someone is killed during a kidnapping, burglary, robbery, or aggravated sexual assault, or during a prison escape, when a person under the age of 10 is murdered, when more than one person is killed at a time, or when a peace officer is killed.
- Manslaughter: a second degree felony, with a possible punishment of between 2 and 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Manslaughter occurs when someone “recklessly causes the death of an individual.”
- Criminally Negligent Homicide: a state jail felony, with a punishment range of 180 days to 2 years in state jail and up to $10,000 in fines. Criminally Negligent Homicide is when a person does something that is a “gross deviation” from what an ordinary person would do, and that leads to the death of another person.
- Intoxication Manslaughter: a second degree felony, with a possible punishment of 2 to 20 years in prison plus up to $10,000 in fines. Intoxication Manslaughter is defined as when a person operates a vehicle, aircraft, watercraft or amusement park ride while intoxicated and causes the death of another person as a result.
If you are facing any of these offenses, you need the help of an experienced, skilled criminal defense attorney. Having a good lawyer on your side can make the difference between spending the rest of your life in prison, and having the charges reduced or dismissed.