Criminal Defense for Texas Murder Cases

In December 2015, Disaster Center compiled a report using data from FBI and other law enforcement agencies across United States. It was found out that Texas alone reported 1,316 murders, a 7.3% spike from the previous year’s 11,123 cases. These incidences, however, remained steady at 13,304 cases in 2016.

1/3rd of Texas Murders Are of African Decent

The worst affected racial group by homicide was African Americans, accounting for over a third of reported cases. Houston and Dallas were the cities most hit by the homicide wave followed by Fort Worth. San Antonio saw the fastest rise in murder cases. 67% of the murders were committed using guns while Knives and Cutting objects were weapons of choice in the 15% of total cases.

Texas Laws on Murder

Murder is knowingly doing an act that leads to loss of life of another person or causing the death of the person while attempting an act that was intended to inflict serious harm to the individual.

In other states and jurisdictions, intentional murder that attracts capital punishment is defined as First Degree Murder. In Texas, this form of murder is identified as Capital Murder. The defendant should meet the following requirements to be considered competent enough to stand conviction;

The defendant should have knowingly or directly caused the death of the person in question.

He/she should have forethought to injure and perpetrate an act considered to be life threatening and the action was the eventual cause of the individual’s death.

He/she should have tried to execute a felony (Besides the manslaughter) and in executing the felony, did an act that led to the killing of the individual in the question.

One of the following should be met for the offense to be considered as a Capital Murder and not merely Murder.

  • If the killed individual was a police officer or fireman on duty when the offense took place.
  • If the defendant hired or was hired by a third party to commit murder.
  • If murder was committed while the defendant was trying to escape from police custody or prison.
  • In case the defendant killed the victim and another one person or more.
  • If the defendant killed a child not older than six years.
  • If the defendant retaliates by killing a person related to or in connection to a member of the judicial team.

Capital murder attracts a life sentence in prison without parole under Texan federal law. In case of murder resulting to first degree felony, a prison sentence of over 5 years and less than 99 years is recommended with a fine not more than $10,000.

Manslaughter is a second degree felony under Texan federal law. It refers to carelessly causing the death of another person. It brings between 2 and 20 years imprisonment with it.

Criminally negligent murder results when an individual causes the death of another person by disregarding standard operating procedures or code for a sane person in a given environment. The punishment involves a sentence between 180 days to2 years in prison.

The homicide section on Bennett & Bennett’s website is very thorough when it comes to explaining the various caveats for the different types of murder offenses.

Criminal Defense

Criminal defense refers arguments and strategies the defendant employs to counter the accuracy of evidence presented by the prosecution.

Due to complex Texas laws concerning murder and capital murder offenses, the defendant requires a capital murder attorney. There are, however, two choices for the defendant in establishing a defense. The defender can simply insist that the murder was justified or declare his/her innocence. The defendant can also argue the murder took place while he/she was acting on self defiance. Sufficient evidence must however, be produced to support the claim.

The prosecutor’s job in the murder case is to prove the suspect’s guilt and prescribe the harshest punishment possible. The defendant will be considered innocent until the prosecutor clears the burden of proof. The prosecution panel must therefore prove murder was premeditated, deliberate and willfully committed by the defendant.

When can a defiant challenge presented witness

  • Accidental Murder- The killing took place while performing a lawful activity.
  • Insanity- If a psychiatric report proves the defendant has mental instability.
  • Exercise of duty- Incase the defendant was a law enforcement officer and carried the killing under the law.
  • Self Defense- Incase the defendant’s own life was under threat necessitating protection.
  • Mistaken Identity- If the defendant is being wrongfully indicted as the main suspect.

Criminal Defense for Texas Murder Cases

The Relationship Between Law Firms & Private Eyes

The Need for Private Detectives

Law firms routinely use private detectives in many capacities. Some examples of cases where investigators might be utilized by attorneys include divorce, corporate espionage, personal injury, worker’s compensation, and accident-related issues.

Hiring a Private Investigator

In these cases, a law firm retains a PI to help them gather information and do their “leg work.” The investigator will likely be tasked with following and observing a person(s) of interest. They would research their background, see who they interact with, where they go, and document their actions.

Evidence Investigation

Generally speaking, law firms employ investigators to gather evidence for them and perform the tasks attorneys do not have the time and/or training to do themselves. The length of time a PI follows and observes a subject can vary greatly, depending on the type of case and/or amount of evidence desired.

Evidence Matters

In many cases, the information gathered by these professionals may make or break a case for the law firm, especially if the case involves corporate matters or significant personal injury issues. Depending on what evidence the private detective gathers, it could result in a case being dismissed or a multimillion dollar settlement.

Corporate Spying

A prime example of a law firm using a Private Investigator might involve a case of corporate espionage. Case in point, a pharmaceutical company suspects they have a mole, who works for one of their competitors, within their ranks. The company is close to applying for FDA approval and wants to rush their product to market. However, there are rumors the company’s chief rival is working a similar drug and they suspect a mole might be relaying vital information to the competition that could enable the rival company to debut their drug on ahead of schedule.

Spy Vs. Spy

In this instance, a private detective like J.J. Gradoni could be retained by a law firm to determine if there is, in fact, a mole within the company. Then, they would also identify the mole as well as observe and document their actions. This information would be passed along to the law firm and/or client for their purposes.

When Drunk Driving or DWI Leads To A Killing

Killing someone while driving drunk means the severe penalties if convicted. If you are accused of killing someone as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol, a crime that’s also referred to a INTOXICATION MANSLAUGHTER, you’ll need to quickly come to grips with the situation, and retain an experienced Houston DWI lawyer prior to appearing in court.

Drunk Driving & Death

A homicide that occurred a result of Driving While Intoxicated will come with prison time if the defendant is found guilty. Needless to say, no one wants to serve any prison time. Of course, it depends on the state you reside and whether it is your first offense or not. A DWI resulting in the unfortunate killing of someone is handled by each state in a different way. Some states consider it a manslaughter charge, while on the other hand it is given a murder charge of the second or third degree in other states.

Find The Best DWI Attorney

If you have a good DWI attorney on your side, you’ll be able to mitigate the worse, but there may still be a price to pay. If it is your first offense, in some state, a reckless endangerment is faced or a charge of vehicular homicide is levied. Apart from these, you also face DWI charges as well as vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter or murder charge.

DWI or DUI, and killing someone, are a lethal legal combination. As stated previously, charges vary with each state. In some states, you may be sentenced to a lifetime in jail for intoxication manslaughter, or in instances we’ve seen convicts get sentenced to a little more than a year and get fines of $1000 at least. In fact, the license of the driver may also get suspended. You are expected to go to rehab as community service or through probation. However, seeking legal help is best on causing death while you have driven drunk.

A Few Tips To Consider

  • Stop your car. In case you have hit someone also, it is a crime to leave without giving insurance and contact information, so do not try to run leaving the scene. Ensure to put emergency blinkers on and come out of your car to investigate the details of the accident.
  • Call the police to give statements so that you are not accused later for not giving information.
  • Remain at the accident scene, exchange information with police and the other party, if possible.
  • Do not try to hide or throw away evidences it there is anything related to the accident.
  • Write down the phone numbers and names of a few witnesses
  • Cooperate with emergency responders and law enforcement.

At the accident scene, do not discuss anything with anyone about this accident. Be very careful about what you say. Do not say any details of the accident as you will be in a perplexed state of mind. Do not apologize even if you know it is your fault. Seek your attorney’s authorization before you speak to anyone. Discuss the case completely with your attorney and he/she will guide you.

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