Tarrant County Homicide Lawyer
As per Texas Penal Code §19.01, the term homicide includes four distinct crimes that involve the death of another person, all of which are serious crimes with very significant potential penalties. The specific facts and circumstances regarding a crime that involves the death of someone else generally determine what type of criminal homicide charge is brought against the alleged perpetrator.
It is usually important to have representation from a skilled criminal attorney when facing felony accusations of any kind, but it is especially so when that accusation is of a homicidal act. Consider contacting an experienced Tarrant County homicide lawyer if you are facing any of those charges, or if you have reason to believe that you may be a suspect in a homicide case.
Criminally Negligent Homicide
Criminally negligent homicide is the lowest level of homicide codified in Texas, and it occurs when a person negligently causes the death of someone else by doing something that a reasonable person would not have done under the circumstances. To effect a guilty verdict for criminally negligent homicide, the prosecution must prove the defendant’s act was the direct and proximate cause of the death of another person. Criminally negligent homicide is punishable by a sentence of not less than 180 days nor more than two years in a state jail.
In general, recklessly causing the death of someone else constitutes the crime of manslaughter in Tarrant County. Unlike other states, Texas does not draw any distinction between voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
In order to be found guilty of manslaughter, the defendant must have caused someone else’s death by way of a reckless act taken without regard for the safety of others. Manslaughter is punishable by a sentence of two to 20 years in prison. A well-trained Tarrant County homicide lawyer could help a build a viable defense for someone who has been charged with manslaughter.
In order to be charged with murder in Tarrant County, a person must have intentionally or knowingly caused the death of another person. Alternatively, they must have done something dangerous that was intended to cause serious bodily harm to someone else but ultimately resulted in a death.
In addition, the crime of murder can also be brought against someone who, in the course of committing some other felony, commits an act that is dangerous to someone else and results in a death. Murder is punishable by a sentence of five to 99 years in prison or, depending on the circumstances, a life sentence.
Murder is elevated to the crime of capital murder—punishable by life in prison or the death penalty—under a variety of specific circumstances that are detailed in Texas Penal Code §19.03(a). These include, but are not limited to:
- The person killed was a fireman or peace officer acting in the line of duty, and the alleged perpetrator was aware of that fact
- The person killed was a child under the age of 10
- The killing was committed for payment or promise of payment
- The killing occurred during an attempted escape from a penal institution, regardless of whether the attempt was successful
- The killing occurred during the commission of any of the following crimes: aggravated sexual assault, arson, burglary, kidnapping, obstruction, retaliation, or terrorism
Speaking with a Tarrant County Homicide Attorney
If you were charged with homicide or have reason to believe that such a charge may be forthcoming, it may be important that you contact a knowledgeable Tarrant County homicide lawyer as soon as possible. Doing so could help ensure that you do not inadvertently do or say something that may be harmful to your case.
In addition, it could be equally important that you not make any statements to or answer any questions from law enforcement authorities until you have had a chance to consult with an attorney from our firm. If you have already made a statement or answered some questions, you have the right to stop doing so, and to ask that you be allowed to consult with a Tarrant County homicide lawyer.
Homicide charges are arguably the most serious you could face under the Texas Penal Code—do not leave your defense up to chance. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and see what we could do to help.