MURDER DEFENSE LAWYER,
Houston, TX

The ultimate crime.

Texas has several variations of murder that are distinguished by the circumstances of the offense and differing ranges of punishment.

Manslaughter (Texas Penal Code §19.04)

Unlike murder, which is the intentional or knowing killing of a person, manslaughter is a type of criminal homicide that has a lower culpable mental state. Section 6.03(c) of the Texas Penal Code defines the reckless mental state as follows: “A person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.” Manslaughter is a Second Degree Felony punishable by 2 years to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Criminally Negligent Homicide (Texas Penal Code §19.05)

Criminally negligent homicide has a lower culpable mental state than manslaughter and occurs when a person causes the death of another through criminal negligence. Section 6.03(d) of the Texas Penal Code defines criminal negligence as follows: “A person acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.” Criminally Negligent Homicide is a State Jail Felony punishable by 6 months to 2 years in state jail and a fine up to $10,000.

Intoxication Manslaughter (Texas Penal Code § 49.08)

Intoxication Manslaughter falls outside the Murder statute (Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code) and is found in Chapter 49. Intoxication Manslaughter does not require any culpable mental state. It is what is known as a “strict liability” offense. In other words, if you operate a motor vehicle in a public place while you are intoxicated and cause the death of another because you are intoxicated, by accident or mistake, you have committed the offense of Intoxication Manslaughter, your intent or lack thereof has no legal bearing. Intoxication Manslaughter is a Second Degree Felony punishable by 2 years to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Murder/Capital Murder (Texas Penal Code §19.02 and §19.03)

Murder is the the intentional or knowing killing of another. It is, without question, the ultimate crime. A person can be convicted of murder in three ways under Texas Penal Code §19.02: (1) Intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another person. This is where it is a person’s intent to kill another; or (2) Intends to cause serious bodily injury by committing an act clearly dangerous to human life which causes the death of the other person. This is where a person intends to cause serious bodily injury to another, not kill the person, but nevertheless the act causes the other person’s death; or (3) Causes the death of another person while committing a felony or fleeing from a felony, also called Felony Murder.

Capital murder is the penultimate crime with the penultimate punishment. Texas has one of the most active execution chambers and Harris County has always been a top death penalty county. It is important to delineate the circumstances under which a person can be charged with Capital Murder.

Texas Penal Code §19.03 states that a person commits Capital Murder if:

  • The person murders a peace officer or fireman who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer or fireman;
  • The person intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat under Section 22.07(a)(1), (3), (4), (5), or (6);
  • The person commits the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration or employs another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration (murder for hire);
  • The person commits the murder while escaping or attempting to escape from a penal institution;
  • The person, while incarcerated in a penal institution, murders another:
    – who is employed in the operation of the penal institution; or
    – with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination;
  • The person:
    – while incarcerated for an offense under this section or Section 19.02, murders another; or
    – while serving a sentence of life imprisonment or a term of 99 years for an offense under Section 20.04, 22.021, or 29.03, murders another;
  • The person murders more than one person:
    – during the same criminal transaction; or
    – during different criminal transactions but the murders are committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct;
  • The person murders an individual under 10 years of age; or
  • The person murders another person in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of the other person as a judge or justice of the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice court, or a municipal court.

Prosecutors have the option of seeking the death penalty for capital murder. The case is presented by the prosecutor handling the case to the elected District Attorney, who makes the ultimate decision on whether to seek death. If the State elects to not pursue the death penalty, the punishment if convicted is life without parole.

If you have been charged with murder or capital murder, you MUST speak with an experienced, qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. You need a top lawyer who knows how to present a strong defense to a murder case. Not many lawyers are qualified. Choose carefully.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER OR MURDER/CAPITAL MURDER

Call Brian Roberts because the right lawyer makes all the difference in defending a murder case. A murder charge is NOT a no-win situation but you need the right lawyer to shepherd you through the difficult and complicated process and who will push back hard against the State. Brian has handled a number of murder cases in is Certified as Counsel in Death Penalty Cases by the Second Administrative Judicial Region of Texas. If you are charged with murder, Brian is the lawyer you need with the experience you want.

BRIAN M. ROBERTS HAS EARNED THE CONFIDENCE OF HIS CLIENTS BY DEVELOPING A DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF THE SPECIFICS OF EACH CLIENT’S CASE

Call for a free consultation at (713) 237-8888.

Brian M. Roberts serves clients in Harris County and surrounding counties.

When your life and liberty are at stake, you need a lawyer who knows how to navigate the complicated criminal justice system. Brian M. Roberts believes that every client deserves a strong defense, whether they are a first-offender or someone with multiple convictions. As a criminal defense attorney, Brian M. Roberts has extensive experience and will wage a strong defense for you. Do not hesitate. If you have a problem, we encourage you to call us today for your free, confidential consultation.