In Texas, homicide is a term that covers taking another person’s life, regardless of intention or mitigating circumstances. However, killing someone is not always a crime. For example, if someone breaks into your home, or if you are being pursued by someone with malicious intent, it may be possible to successfully defend the charges against you. As a highly skilled Houston homicide lawyer, Ned Barnett is passionate about helping people tell their side of the story and will work tirelessly to defend your rights.
To find out how you can avoid spending years behind bars, call the Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 for a free consultation.
Murder and Manslaughter and Criminally Negligent Homicide
lr knowingly causing the death of someone. Manslaughter involves causing a fatality through reckless conduct. If you cause the death of someone by criminal negligence you can be charged with criminally negligent homicide. These two variations are described below:
- Murder: The key to this crime is intentionally killing someone, or knowingly taking action that you know will lead to the death of another. Killing another person is also considered to be murder when you engage in activities that you know will cause severe bodily harm, or when you kill another person while attempting to commit another crime, such as robbery.
- Manslaughter: While murder involves intentionally or knowingly killing someone, manslaughter involves a death that is caused by behaving in a reckless manner. For example, if you cause a car accident because you were speeding, and if another person is killed, you could be charged with manslaughter if the driving was reckless. If the driving was not reckless but only criminally negligent you could be charged with the lesser offense of criminally negligent homicide. These two charges result from engaging in risky and illegal activities.
All murders involve intentionally of knowingly killing another person, but there are certain variations that are punished more harshly. Crimes that fall into this category are referred to as capital murders, the punishment for capital murder is either life in prison or the death penalty. Circumstances that can lead to a capital murder charge include, but are not limited to:
- Killing a police officer or firefighter who is on duty. For this to lead to a capital murder charge, you must have known the victim is a police officer or a fireman at the time of the murder.
- Acting as an assassin, or killing someone after being promised funds for doing so. The person that hires someone to kill another person can also be charged with capital murder.
- Committing murder while attempting to escape from jail or prison.
- Killing a correctional facility employee while imprisoned.
- Murdering more than one person
- Killing a child under the age of 10
Murder is charged as a first-degree felony. However, if the death is caused by recklessly conduct the charge is manslaughter. The charge can also be manslaughter if a person intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another person while in a state of “sudden passion.” If a person causes the death of another person by acting criminally negligent the charge is a state jail felony. The penalties for homicides in Texas are listed below:
- Murder (Capital Felony): Either life in prison or execution by lethal injection
- Murder (First Degree Felony): A fine of up to $10,000 and between five and 99 years or life in prison
- Manslaughter (Second Degree Felony): A fine of up to $10,000 and between two and 20 years in prison
- Criminally Negligent Homicide (State Jail Felony): A fine of up to $10,000.00 and a sentence in a state jail facility from 180 days to 2 years.
If you are convicted of a homicide, you may have to face unexpected consequences when you are released from incarceration. For example, once you get out, you may be unable to find adequate employment. Employers are not fond of hiring people with criminal records. It might also be extremely difficult to go back to school, as most colleges thoroughly vet applicants prior to admitting them.
Defending Your Freedom
When you are being accused of a crime, it is never too early to seek legal representation. Even during the police investigation stage, a Houston violent crimes lawyer can ensure that your rights are not trampled upon. For example, when you are brought in for questioning, you can invoke your Miranda rights and state that you will not answer any questions without your lawyer present. When your attorney arrives, they can provide you with advice related to answering questions. They can also protect you from verbal or physical abuse.
A skilled criminal defense lawyer can also be valuable if your case is taken to trial. They can help you craft a defense strategy that will give you the best chance of regaining your freedom. One defense that is common in homicide cases involves false identification. While eyewitness testimony is the most commonly used form of evidence, it is also the most unreliable. There is a very good chance that you were misidentified by someone who witnessed the crime taking place. It might also be the case that you killed someone in a justified manner. If your life was in danger, or if someone was trespassing on your property, you have every right to use lethal force for protection.
How Houston Homicide Lawyer Ned Barnett Can Help
In his career as a lawyer, Ned Barnett has spent time as both a prosecutor and a defender. With his experience, he can create countermeasures by anticipating the prosecution’s strategy. He has also been certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction that is appointed to only the most qualified legal professionals. With his help, you may be able to avoid time behind bars.