Texas doesn’t use the terms “first degree” and “second degree” to classify murder. Instead, the state classifies the crime as either murder or capital murder. Capital murder is a more severe and elevated charge to murder.
The crime involves the killing of another person, but the case has certain factors that cause the offense to be more harshly punished. Texas allows for capital punishment, so if you are convicted, you could be facing the death penalty or life behind bars.
Texas Capital Murder Attorney
Brian Benken is a licensed private investigator that will hone his skill to collect evidence to prove you are innocent. He also holds over 30 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney and will fight to ensure the best possible outcome for your situation is achieved.
To schedule a time to speak with Brian Benken about the specifics of your case, call (713) 223 - 4051 today, or submit your information in the online contact form. The Benken Law Firm defends clients of capital murder in all communities in Harris County. Some of these communities include, but are not limited to, Montrose, Houston, South Central, River Oaks, Greater Eastwood and many others.
Capital Murder Laws in Texas
In order to be convicted of capital murder, prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:
- Intentionally and knowingly caused the death of another person;
- Intended to cause serious bodily injury and committed an act that was clearly dangerous to human life and it caused someone’s death;
- Committed or attempted to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and while committing the felony that was dangerous to human life, you caused the death of an individual.
What sets capital murder apart from murder, is that the offense involves other factors that cause the crime to be punished more severely. Section 19.03 of the Texas Penal Code states that to be convicted of capital murder, one of the following must apply:
- You murdered a police officer or fireman who was acting in their official duty and you knew the person was a police officer or fireman;
- You intentionally killed someone while committing, or attempting to commit a kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault, arson, obstruction of retaliation or terroristic threat;
- You were paid to commit murder, or you paid someone else to commit murder;
- You murdered someone while trying to escape from a penal institution;
- You killed someone while in jail;
- More than one person was murdered;
- The victim was a child who was younger than six; or
- You murdered someone as retaliation for or on account of the service of a member of the judiciary.
Is Capital Murder Punishable by Death in Texas?
Capital murder is classified as a capital felony in Texas. If you are found guilty of the offense, your chances of facing the death penalty are high. Under section 12.13 of the Texas Penal Code, anyone who is found guilty of a capital felony shall be punished by either:
- Life in prison without parole; or
- The death penalty
Life in prison without parole or the death penalty is the mandatory punishments if you are found guilty of capital murder. The only way you could get life in prison with the possibility of parole is if the offenses was committed when you were younger than 18. Also, if the court declares that you’re insane or mentally disabled, you will be spared the death penalty.
If the court cannot find beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of capital murder, the charges could be lessened to murder or another related charge.
What is Capital Punishment?
Capital punishment is the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a criminal offense. There are 31 states in the country where the punishment is legal with Texas being one of the leading states for inmate execution.
Some of the crimes that are punishable by capital punishment include:
- Capital Murder
- Super Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Death resulting from aircraft hijacking
Execution has been a long debated topic. Some believe the act violates the constitutional promise to ban cruel and unusual punishment and the guarantee of due process law. Because capital murder can be punishable by death, you should contact an attorney who will fight to protect your rights and prove you are innocent.
Collateral Consequences of a Capital Murder Conviction
Collateral consequences are the additional penalties that can be imposed on someone once they’ve been charged and convicted of a crime. Collateral consequences can affect many aspects of an offender’s life, making it difficult to reintegrate into society and sustain themselves even after completing their sentence. Some of the most common collateral consequences that an individual can face after their conviction for capital murder includes:
- Inability to gain future employment
- Eligibility for housing
- Loss of a current job
- Immigration issues, including deportation
- Action against a professional license
- Traveling to other countries
- Loss of the right to own and use a gun
- Loss of voting rights
- Loss of driving privileges
Capital Murder| Texas Penal Code Section 19.03– Follow this link to read the precise text of how the state defines capital murder. You can also learn more about other forms of criminal homicide such as manslaughter, murder and criminally negligent homicide. The statute can be read on the Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
Punishments | Texas Penal Code Section 12.31– Visit the Texas Constitution and Statutes website to learn more about the punishments for capital felonies in the state. You can also read more about how other offenses are punished such as felonies or misdemeanors.
Houston Capital Murder Attorney | Harris County, TX
Capital murder is one of the most severe crimes in Texas. Because you could be facing the death penalty, you will need the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At The Benken Law Firm we will do everything in our power to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Brian Benken is a licensed private investigator that will bring the truth to the table. With over 30 years of trial experience, Brian Benken knows what needs to be done to defend you and your liberty.
Call The Benken Law Firm today at (713) 223 - 4051 to schedule a time to speak with an attorney about your case. Brian Benken defends clients of criminal offenses in all communities across Harris County such as Woodland Heights, Braeswood Place, West University Place, Uptown and many others in the surrounding area.