Facing Murder Charges? You Need a Houston Capital Murder Attorney Now
If you are facing a capital murder charge in Texas, which is the most serious form of homicide in the state, you are going to need an exceptional Houston capital murder attorney. If convicted you will spend the rest of your life in prison — and that’s the best case scenario. The death penalty is still a very real possibility in the state of Texas.
If you you or a loved is facing charges for capital murder, your lawyer is your last line of defense. Mark Thiessen of Thiessen Law Firm is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He takes tough cases to trial and he wins.
Homicide vs. murder, murder vs. capital murder, what is the difference?
Intent plays a major role in the severity of homicide charges in Texas. Courts often pour over the specific details in a case in order to discern how culpable or reckless a defendant’s behavior was. Murder and capital murder can be thought of as high intent types of homicide. There are four types of homicide recognized by courts in Texas:
- Criminally negligent homicide occurs when someone dies as a result of criminal negligence.
- Manslaughter occurs when an individual “recklessly” causes the death of another person. Recklessness here implies knowledge of the potentially lethal consequences of one’s actions.
- Murder occurs in Texas under three circumstances:
- A person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another individual.
- A person intends to inflict serious injury, commits an act to that end, and in the process causes the death of an individual. Often an aggravated assault charge in which the complications lead to death will result in a murder charge.
- A person commits (or attempts to do so) another felony crime, and causes the death of another individual in the process.
- Capital murder is charged as a capital felony.
“What is capital murder in Texas?” The term capital murder is used in place of first-degree murder in Texas. Capital murder is a charge reserved for murders considered particularly severe. A person can be charged with capital murder for committing murder with any of the following aggravating factors:
- The victim was a fireman or peace officer
- The act was committed during another felony act such as burglary, sexual assault, robbery, or kidnapping
- The act was committed in retaliation
- The victim was under age 10
- The act was committed by an incarcerated person
- Who was serving a life sentence
- Against an employee of the penal institution
- And was gang related
- During an escape attempt from a penal institution
- More than one victim was murdered during the same act
- More than one victim was murdered in separate acts but during a similar pattern of behavior
Is capital murder a felony in Texas?
All forms of homicide are felonies in Texas. The punishment breakdown for homicide looks like this:
- Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony, punishable by 180 days – 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Manslaughter is a second degree felony, punishable by 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Murder committed under “sudden passion” is a second degree felony, punishable by 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Murder is a first degree felony, punishable by 5-99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Capital murder is a capital felony, punishable by MANDATORY LIFE in prison, or worse.
Can you get the death penalty for capital murder in Texas?
Capital murder is a capital felony in Texas. According to Texas Penal Code § 19.03, a party found guilty of capital murder will be punished by either life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
The only way out is to hire an experienced Houston murder attorney with the scientific and trial background necessary to work with complex evidence and defend you in the fight of your life.
Capital murder defense, how to defend your life
Generally speaking capital murder charges don’t get settled with handshakes. There are a number of possible defenses for murder that your attorney can employ, but let’s not mince words, it will be hard. You need an attorney with experience going to trial and winning.
Innocent until proven guilty, while being a tenet of the justice system, can be a difficult ideal to maintain during trials for violent crimes. It can be very difficult to prove someone’s innocence in a court of law when they have already been convicted in the court of public opinion. You need an aggressive but compassionate lawyer to employ any of the following defenses, which often center around disproving intent:
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of intent to kill or seriously injure
- Illegal search and seizure, or other disqualifications of dubious evidence
Murder charge? Call the Houston capital murder attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm
Whether charged or just wanted for questioning, if you or a loved one has been involved in a murder case, don’t talk to anyone but your Houston capital murder attorney. Your right to remain silent and right to an attorney are the two most important tools in the fight against a possible guilty verdict.