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What Are the Penalties for Murder in Texas?

Posted on June 19, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Denton County Murder Defense LawyerKilling someone else is one of the most serious crimes a person can commit, and if a person's intentional actions led to someone's death, they may face murder charges. Those who are found guilty of this crime can face severe consequences, including life imprisonment and even the death penalty. For anyone who could potentially face murder charges, it is essential to understand the nature of the charges, the potential penalties for a conviction, and the options for defense.

Murder and Capital Murder Charges

The offense of murder generally involves intentionally killing someone or knowingly taking actions that lead to a person's death. However, a person may also be charged with murder if they took actions that were intended to cause someone to suffer serious bodily harm, and these actions led to someone's death. For example, a vicious beating with a weapon such as a baseball bat is likely to cause serious bodily injuries, and if the victim dies from their injuries, the perpetrator may be charged with murder.

Murder charges may also apply if a person took actions that led to someone's death while committing a felony. These actions may be taken during criminal activity or when fleeing a crime scene. If a person acted in a clearly dangerous way, and someone was killed, they may be charged with murder, even if they did not intend to kill someone. For example, if a person attempted to rob a bank and exchanged gunfire with police officers while fleeing the scene, and this led to the death of a bystander who was struck by a stray bullet, the person may be charged with murder.

Murder is typically charged as a first-degree felony. A person who is convicted may be sentenced to five to 99 years in prison, and they may also be fined up to $10,000. However, a murder charge may be reduced to a second-degree felony if a defendant can show that they acted out of "sudden passion" due to circumstances that caused them to experience anger, terror, or resentment and rendered them incapable of acting rationally. For example, a person who discovered that a family member had been sexually assaulted may act out of rage and kill the person who committed the assault. A person who is convicted of second degree felony murder may be sentenced to between two and 20 years in prison and fined up to $10,000.

In some cases, a charge may be elevated to capital murder. These charges may apply if a person received payment in exchange for killing someone, if the victim was a police officer or firefighter if more than one person was murdered during the same course of events, if the victim was under the age of 15, or if someone was intentionally killed while a person was committing or attempting to commit an offense such as sexual assault, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, terroristic threats, or arson. In capital murder cases, prosecutors may seek the death penalty, or a person who is convicted may be sentenced to life in prison. If the person was over the age of 18 when the offense was allegedly committed, they will not be eligible for parole.

Contact Our Denton County Murder Defense Lawyer

Murder is among the most serious offenses that defendants may face. Texas courts do not take accusations of murder lightly, and a person who is convicted is likely to face harsh penalties. However, the specific charges and penalties will be based on the circumstances of a case, and there are multiple factors that may affect the severity of the penalties a person may face. If you have been accused of intentionally killing someone else, an experienced Cooke County murder charges attorney can help you mount a strong defense. Contact Marsala Law Group today at 940-382-1976 to book a free consultation and get the legal help you need in this difficult situation.

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