Under the criminal homicide statutes in Texas, charges of murder are divided according to the severity and the surrounding circumstances of the crime. The majority of states categorizes murder crimes as second and first degree murder. In Texas, however, murder crimes are either murder or capital murder. DNTrialLaw.com and other criminal defense attorneys in Houston share more information below:
Texas Murder Law
Someone has committed murder in Texas when that person:
- Killed another person deliberately or intentionally;
- Deliberately caused severe bodily harm and committed an obviously harmful act to another person that resulted in that person’s death;
- Tried or committed a felony, except for manslaughter, and tried or committed a visibly dangerous act to another person, resulting in that person’s death while trying or committing the felony.
A murder conviction in Texas will result in a first degree felony, with hefty fines and imprisonment ranging from five years to life imprisonment.
Texas Capital Murder Law
Under the Texas penal code, a person has committed capital murder when he has knowingly and deliberately:
- Killed a child below six years old;
- Killed a law officer acting on official duty;
- Killed a person during the act of trying to or committing felonies, including robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, aggravated sexual assault, terroristic threat, or retaliation and obstruction;
- Killed another person in exchange for money;
- Killed several people in a single criminal instance or during several instances, with the murder crime committed following the exact circumstances or scheme
In Texas, a capital murder conviction will result in extremely costly fines, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or worse, death. In addition, there might be other circumstances or conditions that may result in a capital murder charge. But, the difference between murder and capital murder laws is directly linked with potential punishments permitted in the case of a conviction.
Murder in Texas is considered an extremely heinous crime. As such, a conviction of either murder or capital murder can result in decades in prison, life imprisonment, or the death row. Because of this, you’ll need an experienced criminal defense attorney who’s well-versed in the criminal justice system to represent you.