Homicide in Texas

Under Texas law, first- and second-degree murder, as well as capital murder, are considered criminal homicide offenses. However, there are some key differences between them in terms of circumstance and sentencing.

  1. Homicide in Texas
  2. Classifications of Murder Crimes
  3. Punishments for Murder and Capital Murder
  4. Top Murder Lawyers at Spolin Law P.C.

Classifications of Murder Crimes

In Texas, murder and capital murder remain distinct from one another.

First- and Second-Degree Murder

Murder can be further split into two smaller categories: first-degree murder and second-degree murder. First-degree murder refers to a murder that was premeditated and done with the goal to end another’s life. Second-degree murders, on the other hand, are crimes of passion. These murders occur when the offender had no premeditation but did have the intent to kill.

Capital Murder

Separate from first- and second-degree murder is capital murder. There are many special circumstances during which a murder may be elevated to a capital crime. Under Texas penal code § 19.03(a) a capital murder has occurred when:

  • The victim is a peace officer or fireman and the offender is aware that the person they have killed is of this status;
  • The murder occurred during the commission of one of the following felonies: theft, arson, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, obstruction or retaliation, or pursuit of a terroristic threat;
  • The offender was paid or received a promise of payment to commit the murder;
  • The murder occurred during one’s escape from prison;
  • The victim is a prison employee and the offender is an inmate at the same facility;
  • The murder was committed by an incarcerated felon convicted of either aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault, or robbery;
  • The offender is responsible for the murder of more than one person either on the same occasion or during different criminal transactions that share a common killing pattern;
  • The victim was younger than 10 years old; or
  • The victim was a judge, and the murder was performed in retaliation to a decision made during the judge’s service.
  1. Homicide in Texas
  2. Classifications of Murder Crimes
  3. Punishments for Murder and Capital Murder
  4. Top Murder Lawyers at Spolin Law P.C.

Punishments for Murder and Capital Murder

As revealed above, the circumstances surrounding instances of murder and capital murder greatly differ. In the same way, the punishments for the types of murder are also quite different.

First- and Second-Degree Murder Penalties

In Texas, the sentence for those convicted of first-degree murder is anywhere from 5 to 99 years in prison. On top of that, the court may choose to add a maximum $10,000 fine. For a defendant found guilty of murder in the second degree, the sentencing is less severe, ranging anywhere from 2 to 20 years with the possibility of the same fine.

Capital Murder Penalties

However, while first-degree murder carries a larger sentence than second-degree murder, capital murder in Texas tops them both. It carries a sentence of either life in prison or the death penalty. Texas is one of the 28 states in the United States that allows the death penalty, and its relevance to a case is at the discretion of the local district attorney.

  1. Homicide in Texas
  2. Classifications of Murder Crimes
  3. Punishments for Murder and Capital Murder
  4. Top Murder Lawyers at Spolin Law P.C.

Top Murder Lawyers at Spolin Law P.C.

Spolin Law P.C. has a team of attorneys in Texas who fight aggressively for the rights of their clients. We win cases because we:

  • Know the law.
  • Understand how the prosecutor thinks.
  • Fight to win in every case.

We will work hard to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Call us today at (310) 424-5816.