Types and Levels of Offenses Involving Murder and Manslaughter
The most serious charge in Texas is capital murder. When defending a murder charge, there are times when a lower degree offense (called a “lesser included” offense) involving some, but not all, of the elements of murder can be considered by prosecutors, judge, or jury. For this reason, we have included the information for a range of lesser included offenses to murder or manslaughter.
Class A Misdemeanor – Up to 1 year in jail and up to $4,000 fine
Deadly Conduct – By recklessly putting another person in danger of serious bodily injury
State Jail Felony – Up to 2 years and not less than 180 days and up to $10,000 fine
Criminally Negligent Homicide
Third Degree Felony – 2 to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine
Deadly Conduct – By knowingly discharging a firearm in the direction of a person or habitation
Second Degree Felony – 2 to 20 years in prison and an up to $10,000 fine
First Degree Felony – 5 years to 99 years or Life and up to $10,000 fine
Capital Felony – Life without Parole or Death
When you are accused of a criminal offense, nothing speaks louder than the results an attorney earns. Here are a few examples of results we have received in recent cases:
Client was indicted for murdering a man who had raped a female friend of client’s. After we reexamined the testimony of the witnesses, no one could make client’s actions line up with the autopsy results of the injuries. We developed evidence that the deceased may have been assaulted by someone else prior to contact with our client. The case was eventually dismissed and our client cleared of all charges.
Manslaughter—Case No Billed
Client was driving at a high rate of speed (according to the police report) in a construction zone when he hit and killed a jogger. We were able to establish that the speed he was driving could not be scientifically verified and was exaggerated by police reports. We also showed that the jogger had unlawfully entered the roadway in the dark, leaving no opportunity for our client to avoid the accident. The case was presented to the grand jury and no-billed.
Manslaughter—Case reduced and sentenced to home confinement
Client was a bartender who overserved an intoxicated person, and that person later died in his home. The DA’s office accepted the case as the misdemeanor of serving an intoxicated person an alcoholic beverage. Client was eventually sentenced to home confinement for one year.
Client had a previous criminal record that would not allow him to possess a gun. He had been threatened earlier in the night and believed someone might be trying to assault him at home. He shot at a person he believed to be an attacker and accidentally killed a fellow housemate. Documented for the prosecutor the credible threats that client had received and negotiated a reduction to probation on a criminally negligent homicide charge.
Murder*/Aggravated Assault by a Police Officer—Not Guilty by Jury
Client was a police officer who responded to a suspicious person call regarding two people in an automobile. In spite of the officer’s repeated commands, the two people in the car refused to exit the vehicle or show their hands. Our client saw the vehicle reverse in the direction of other officers and shot to defend his fellow officers. This case went to a jury trial where we cross-examined the government’s witnesses and provided our own. We were able to show that the officer’s conduct was justified under the law. Our client was acquitted of all charges and went home to his family.
*Case was filed as an aggravated assault by a police officer because it’s easier for the prosecution to then prove murder, and it carries the same punishment range.