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What Constitutes Murder in Denton County and What Are the Penalties and Defenses?

Posted on in Personal Injury

TX defense lawyerAs is valid in the United States and any civilized society, murder is among the most severe offenses one can be accused of and charged with committing. Yet, if you are convicted of murder in Texas, you may even find yourself on death row.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Texas has carried out more executions than any other state since 1976. Furthermore, Denton County juries have condemned seven individuals to death, six of which have been successfully carried out. In Denton County, the last person to be executed was in 2011. Simply put, Texas takes murder exceptionally seriously. Therefore, if you have been charged with murder, it is strongly advised that you seek counsel immediately, as your life may very well be on the line.

How Are Murder and Capital Murder Defined in Texas?

In Texas, there is murder and capital murder. Firstly, how is murder defined? Murder is when someone deliberately takes another person’s life. You may also be charged with murder if you engage in hazardous conduct intending to injure a person critically and kill them. Other circumstances where someone can be accused of murder is if they are committing or attempting to commit a felony and then decide to flee the scene, killing someone in the process. Such an act qualifies for murder in Texas.

How Is Capital Murder Different?

Capital murder is the unlawful killing of another in particular circumstances. These circumstances include killing someone during a:

  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Arson

Other situations where capital murder may have been committed include:

  • Murdering someone in exchange for money
  • Murdering someone while escaping prison
  • Murdering someone while in prison
  • The contended victim was less than 15 years old

What Are the Penalties for Murder and Capital Murder?

Since murder counts as a first-degree felony, if convicted, you face between 5-99 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. On the other hand, capital murder is classified as a capital felony. Therefore, being convicted of capital murder carries life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Defending Against a Murder Charge in Texas

Contingent upon your case, there are certain defenses a defendant can employ to avoid being convicted of murder. A common defense that defendants can use is that they acted to protect themselves or someone else. For this line of reasoning to be effective, the defendant must prove they acted with deadly force because they reasonably believed such action was necessary. The jury must be convinced that a reasonable person would have also acted with deadly force if faced with a similar situation.

However, there are certain limitations to claims of self-defense. For instance, the accused cannot be the antagonist. Further, the deadly force cannot have happened after verbal incitement. Additionally, deadly force must be proportionate to the initial attack. For example, if Sally trips John and he falls, he cannot get up and stab her a dozen times.

Situations Where Deadly Force Is Justified in Texas

Deadly force is justified if:

  • It is essential to protect a person against another person’s use of deadly force.
  • It is preventing:
    • Aggravated kidnapping
    • Murder
    • Sexual Assault
    • Aggravated sexual assault
    • Robbery or aggravated robbery

Contact a Denton County Murder Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of the heinous act of murder, the state will likely do everything it can to convict you and levy severe penalties against you. At Marsala Law Group, our experienced Cooke County murder defense lawyers know how serious a charge of murder is. Reach out to us at 940-382-1976 for a free consultation.


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