Murder is one of four types of homicide listed in the Texas Penal Code. According to the code, homicide is when a person commits criminal homicide if he intentionally, knowingly, or with criminal negligence causes the death of an individual (19.01). The four types of homicide are murder, capital murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide.
Criminally negligent homicide can occur if a perpetrator of a crime accidentally takes someone else’s life, which can result in state jail time. Similarly, manslaughter involves taking someone else’s life through reckless behavior, such as driving under the influence—but in contradistinction to criminally negligent homicide, not necessarily through an accident that occurs in conjunction with criminal behavior (such as accidentally killing a bystander during an armed robbery).
Murder, according to the Texas Penal Code, involves intentionally and knowingly taking the life of someone else, or when you commit an act upon them that is known to be dangerous that then results in their death. Murder is a first degree felony in Texas, which means anywhere from five to ninety nine years in a state prison and a fine of $10,000 or less. The length of the sentence may vary based on the circumstances around the murder, the weapon used, and the previous criminal record of the defendant, if any.
Capital murder is a unique variant of murder that involves killing a fireman or law enforcement officer. Select acts of murder—which implies that they were done with intentionality—are also defined as capital murder when they occur in conjuction with arson, kidnapping, robbery, terrorism, burglary, or sexual assult. Capital felonies earn a convicted perpetrator the death penalty, which is enforced in Texas via lethal injection.
As you can imagine, someone faced with a murder charge will want to pull out all stops to make sure the prosecution does not morph the facts of the case into pointing toward a capital murder, or even a murder that merits a lifetime sentence. Working with a qualified lawyer such as Mr. Morin, who is familiar with the Texas Code of Justice, can help mitigate the punitive damages met out by the prosecution, or even explore ways to successfully defend your case altogether.