A person commits criminal homicide if he or she intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence causes the death of an individual. There are several different homicide offenses. First is murder. A person commits murder when he or she 1) intentionally or knowingly causing the death of an individual; 2) intending to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual; or 3) while in the commission of a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of and furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission or attempt he or she commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual. At the punishment phase of a trial, the defendant may raise the issue as to whether he caused the death under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause. If the defendant proves this issue by a preponderance of the evidence, the offense is a second-degree felony punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for not more than twenty years, or less than 2 years, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00. Otherwise, the crime of murder is a first-degree felony punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice life or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than five.
The second homicide offense is capital murder. A person commits capital murder if the person commits murder as defined above, and 1) the person murders a peace officer or fireman who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty, and who the person knows is a peace officer or fireman; 2) the person intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat; 3) the person commits murder for payment or the promise of payment or employs another to commit the murder for payment or the promise of payment; 4) the person commits the murder while escaping or attempting to escape from a penal institution; 5) the person, while incarcerated in a penal institution, murders another who is employed in the operation of the penal institution; or with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination; 6) the person while incarcerated for an offense under this section or Section 19.02, murders another; or while serving a sentence of life imprisonment or a term of 99 years for an offense under Section 20.04, 22.021, or 29.03, murders another; 7) the person murders more than one person during the same criminal transaction or during different criminal transactions but the murders are committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct; 8) the person murders an individual under 10 years of age; or 9) the person murders another person in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of the other person as a judge or justice of the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice court, or a municipal court. Capital murder is punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life without parole, or by death.
Another homicide crime is criminally negligent homicide. A person commits criminally negligent homicide if he or she causes the death of an individual by criminal negligence. Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony punishable by confinement in a state jail for not more than two years or less than 180 days, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00.
If you have ever seen a crime show on television, or read a detective novel, you are familiar with the crime of murder. The homicide crimes are some of the worst crimes that we have in our penal system, hence why the punishments are what they are. If you are being accused of committing a homicide crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Before you even talk to the police, hire an attorney to be there beside you every step of the way. Call the Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC at 817-841-9906, and we will be there for you.