First Degree Murder
First-degree murder is an unlawful killing that is both premeditated and willful. Here, the perpetrator plans to kill the victim and succeeds in carrying out the act. To be convicted of first-degree murder, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The defendant intentionally and willfully caused the death of another person.
- The defendant intended to cause serious harm or bodily injury and committed an act that was clearly dangerous to human life. This act resulted in the death of an individual.
- The defendant committed or attempted to commit a felony and, in the process, carried out an act that was obviously dangerous to human life. This act resulted in the death of an individual.
Second Degree Murder
In Texas, second-degree murder is simply referred to as "murder." Second-degree murder involves the death of an individual that was caused by the wrongful acts of the accused. These include deaths that occurred while committing a crime or as a result of recklessness.
Under Texas law, a person commits a capital murder offense if the person murders a peace officer or fireman who is acting in an official duty. The crime of capital murder is considered a first-degree felony. If convicted of a capital felony, the punishment possibilities for the defendant are life in prison, or the death penalty.
The potential punishment for murder charges in Texas include:
- Fines of up to $10,000.
- A sentence of between five and 99 years in state prison.
- Life in prison without the possibility of parole for capital murder.
The state of Texas permits capital punishment. First-degree murder and capital murder may result in a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty. However, defendants who are declared to be incapacitated or under 18 years of age may be spared from the death penalty.
Possible Murder Defenses
Some potential defenses to a murder charge include:
- Lack of intent
- Lack of knowledge
- "Heat of passion"
Fighting murder charges can be complicated. Hiring an aggressive murder defense attorney, who understands the complex Texas legal system, can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
How Can a Legal Counsel Help?
Defending your murder charges on your own can put you at risk of suffering the maximum punishment. If convicted, you could be facing life without the possibility of parole. It is crucial for you to retain an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney immediately to help protect your rights.
Attorney Tom Cox has dedicated his career to providing strong representation to clients in matters of criminal homicide and murder. He can use his knowledge to navigate the criminal justice system and help defend you. He can conduct a comprehensive investigation and attempt to refute the charges against you with overwhelming evidence.
Contact Tom Cox today to schedule a case evaluation and increase your chances at a brighter tomorrow. He will strategize an effective defense strategy and fight aggressively to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed.