Crimes of Violence
Murder, also known as Homicide, is defined as the "unlawful and intentional killing of a human being by another with malice of forethought." The maximum penalty for murder can be life imprisonment and, Texas, can result in a Capital Murder Prosecution when certain circumstances are present such as the killing of a law enforcement officer, or the commission of another felony at the time of the murder or if the murder victim is under the age of 6, to name a few. Upon conviction, as punishment, the death penalty may be imposed! This is the most serious type of murder offense
“Plain” Murder is a First Degree Felony and requires only the intent to cause the death of another, an act in furtherance of the death, and the actual death of the individual. The Penalty Range for “Plain” Murder is 5 years to 99 years, or Life Imprisonment. At the punishment stage of a trial, an accused may raise the issue as to whether he caused the death under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause. If the accused proves the issue in the affirmative by a preponderance of the evidence, the offense is a felony of the second degree.
Manslaughter occurs when a person recklessly causes the death of an individual.
This is punishable as a Second Degree Felony with the penalty range being a minimum of 2 years to a maximum of 20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division.
It is important to realize that upon conviction and subsequent imprisonment for these offenses, a full ½ of the time assessed must be served day for day with no consideration of good behavior or any other factor. Probation must come from the judge in the form of a pre-trial disposition of the case, for after trial, probation can only come from the same jury that rendered the conviction, which is rare, if not non-existent, assuming that the person qualifies for probation in the first instance, meaning no prior felony convictions and filing an application for probation prior to the impaneling of the jury. For these type of crimes committed after the 1st of September 2008, probation can only be given by the judge prior to trial, a very rare occurrence, indeed, for these types of cases.
Criminally Negligent Homicide is when a person commits an offense if he causes the death of an individual by criminal negligence. The punishment for this offense is a state jail felony, which is punishable by up to two years in a state jail facility. This time is day for day calendar time, with no consideration for good behavior and there is no probation after trial and conviction if the offense was committed after the 1st of September 2008,
Violent crimes are taken very seriously and typically involve prison terms and high bail amounts -- or even no bail amounts. The stakes are higher in violent crimes than in almost any other type of criminal charges.
One of the keys to a successful violent crime defense is pre-trial investigation. Effective investigation can uncover prosecution missteps, identify exculpatory evidence and allow the use of tools such as DNA analysis and polygraph tests.
The prosecution has experienced investigators whose job it is to build a case against you while providing you the services of an overburdened public defender to save your life.
Mounting a successful defense requires defense team, not just a single attorney. Prosecutors generally do not pursue cases that they don't feel they can prove in trial. This is why it is critical to dig even deeper into your case than the prosecution and inject the reasonable doubt that will let you win in the courtroom if necessary.
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