Capital Murder / Murder / Manslaughter / Criminally Negligent Homicide
Being charged with murder is the most serious charge we have under the laws of the State of Texas. Homicide cases require a tremendous amount of work and expertise to have any chance at being successfully defended.
All three of our partners have either prosecuted or defended dozens of murder cases in our combined fifty (50) years of experience. The vast trial experience with these types of cases at Smith | McDonald | Bolin is invaluable. Charges that are of such a serious nature require a team of strong competent attorney’s and investigators who have experience and knowledge with defending such a serious charge.
We are confident that no other firm in Fort Bend County has defended more murder cases nor tried more Murder cases than Smith | McDonald | Bolin.
Our Approach to Defending All Types of Murder and Homicide Charges:
Our best strategy has always been to start from the very beginning of the case and prepare like we are going to trial in a year or two. We work very diligently to acquire ALL the facts immediately upon our firm being retained to fight for your freedom. Getting a strong start from the very beginning often times means the difference between spending the rest of your life in prison or getting to go home to your family.
Murder (Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code)
Under Texas state law, the forms of homicide include Capital Murder, Murder, Manslaughter and Criminally Negligent Homicide.
A Capital Murder charge occurs when:
- The murder occurs during a robbery, burglary, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation or terroristic threat or during an attempt to commit one of those crimes.
- The murder occurs for remuneration or promise of remuneration or employs another to commit murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration.
- The murder occurs while the defendant is incarcerated and murders another who is employed in the operation of the penal institution, with intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination.
- A person murders another while he is incarcerated for committing a previous murder or serving a life sentence or 99 years for injury to a child, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery.
- The murder occurs while the defendant is escaping or attempting to escape from a penal institution.
- The victim is under the age of 10.
- The victim is a fireman or police officer.
- More than one murder occurs the same criminal transaction or during different transactions, but the murders are committed pursuant to the same plan or scheme or course of conduct.
- Punishment Range: Life in prison without the possibility of parole or Death.
A Murder charge occurs when:
- Intentionally and knowingly causing the death of an individual.
- Intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individua; or
- Commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of an in furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission or attempt, he commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual.
- Punishment Range: 5 years – 99 years or life in the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice Institutional Division.
- Sudden Passion Defense: At the punishment stage of trial the defendant may raise the issue as to whether he caused the death under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from adequate cause. This reduces the punishment range to that to a second-degree felony which is 2-20 years in the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice Institutional Division.
A Manslaughter charge occurs when:
- Recklessly causes the death of an individual.
- Punishment range: It is considered a 2nd degree felony, which is 2-20 yearsin the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice Institutional Division.
A Criminally Negligent Homicide charge occurs when:
- Criminally negligently causes the death of an individual.
- Punishment Range: 6 months – years in a State Jail Felony Facility.