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Types of Homicide in Texas - Part 1

 Posted on July 05, 2024 in Criminal Defense

Blog ImageHomicide is widely seen as the most serious crime a person can commit. Killing someone - on purpose or otherwise - permanently alters the course of numerous lives, including your own. Although the victim will not be there to speak for himself or testify against you, the court will likely hear a number of his loved ones speak on his behalf during the sentencing phase if you are convicted. This kind of victim impact statement can be heart-wrenching and may have a devastating impact on how you are sentenced. If you have been charged with any form of murder or manslaughter in Texas, you desperately need a highly skilled Frisco, TX homicide defense attorney to fight for you.

What is Capital Murder?

Texas is one of just a handful of states that still has capital punishment, commonly called the death penalty. However, its use is limited to a few very specific types of first-degree murder cases. Capital murder is only charged when:

  • The defendant was committing another felony, like armed robbery, when he purposely killed the victim, 
  • The defendant was attempting to escape from jail or prison when he committed the murder, 
  • The victim was a police officer, fireman, or judge, and the defendant was aware of this,
  • The defendant hired someone to kill the victim, 
  • The defendant was paid to kill the victim, 
  • The defendant committed multiple intentional murders that were related, or
  • The victim was a child less than 11 years old. 

If any of these circumstances apply, you could be in extreme legal jeopardy.

First-Degree Felony Murder

You would be charged with first-degree murder if none of the factors that would elevate the charge to capital murder apply. There are three types of actions that constitute first-degree murder in Texas:

  • Knowingly or purposely causing the death of another person - This means acting for the purpose of killing the victim or taking an action that you knew would cause the victim to die. Stabbing someone intending to kill him or burning down a shed you knew someone would be trapped in would be first-degree murder. 
  • Performing a dangerous action for the purpose of causing someone to suffer serious bodily injury and causing his death as a result - For example, if you stabbed someone intending to seriously injure but not kill him, and he dies anyway, this would amount to first-degree murder. 
  • Causing someone to die while committing a felony or fleeing after committing a felony - For example, if you were burglarizing a residence and ran someone over with your car in your haste to escape, and she dies, this is murder in first degree. This kind of charge is commonly called "felony murder." 

Contact a Frisco, TX Homicide Attorney

Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. is committed to providing the best criminal defense services possible to people facing serious murder charges. Our dedicated Collin County, TX murder and manslaughter lawyers have represented clients in over 600 criminal trials with excellent results. Contact us at 469-333-3333 for a complimentary consultation.

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