Being arrested for murder is a life-altering and traumatizing experience. The violent crime involves the death of another person and can be charged in a variety of ways. In serious cases, you could spend up to life in prison or face the death penalty if convicted.

If you have been accused of murder, it would be in your best interest to take immediate action and contact a defense team with experience defending murder in Harris County courtrooms.

Texas Murder Defense Attorney

Who you choose to represent you in the courtroom can drastically alter the outcome of your case. Brian Benken is a licensed private investigator that will gather evidence to prove that you are innocent.

The Benken Law Firm represent clients being investigated for murder in all areas across Harris County and surrounding counties such as Houston, The Heights, River Oaks, Spring Valley Village, Gulfton and many others.

Call (713) 223 - 4051 today to schedule a time to speak with Brian Benken about the specifics of your case. Don’t delay. The sooner you retain legal representation, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome in court,

Overview of Murder in Harris County, TX

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How does Texas Define Murder?

Murder is classified as one of the state’s most serious criminal offenses. The crime involves the death of an individual that resulted in the defendant’s reckless behavior. Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code defines the crime as:

    • Intentionally or knowingly causing the death of an individual
    • Intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act that is clearly dangerous to human life and that act causes the death of an individual; or
    • Commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and while committing the felony, committing an act that is clearly dangerous to human life and the act caused the death of an individual.

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Penalties for Murder in Texas

Because of the serious nature of the charge, murder is a crime that is not taken lightly in Texas. If convicted you could be charged with a first-degree felony. This charge is punishable by five to 99 years or life in a Texas prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

If you are found guilty, an attorney can raise the issue of sudden passion during the punishment phase in hopes of reducing or mitigating the penalties. Sudden passion is the act of committing a crime because of a strong sudden impulse to premeditate a crime. A strong sudden impulse can include anger, terror, rage or resentment.

For example, a wife comes home and finds her husband sleeping with another woman. The wife is immediately enraged, so she goes to her closet, grabs a gun and kills both the woman and the husband.

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Capital Murder

There are circumstances where a murder charge can be elevated to capital murder. This crime is committed during the process of another crime. For example, you are in the process of burglarizing a home and you shoot and kill a person that is inside.

Other circumstances where a murder charge can be enhanced to capital murder include:

  • The victim is a peace officer or fireman who is acting in their duty
  • You were paid to commit the murder
  • You murdered someone while trying to escape from a penal institution
  • You murdered someone while in jail
  • More than one person was murdered
  • The victim was younger than 10 years old
  • You murdered someone in retaliation to an account from a member of the judiciary.

Texas is a state that allows for capital punishment, so it’s possible to receive the death penalty or life in prison without parole if you are convicted of capital murder. If you are declared mentally disabled or insane, you could be spared from the death penalty.

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Manslaughter is another form of murder under Texas law, but instead of an individual’s intent, it’s based on recklessness. To be convicted of manslaughter, a prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your recklessness was the cause of the other person’s death.

Texas does not have two forms of manslaughter like most states; instead, it combines involuntary and voluntary manslaughter into one crime. Intoxicated manslaughter does not fall under this category because the offense has its own specific laws.

If you are found guilty of manslaughter, you could be charged with a second-degree felony that carries between two and 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

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Criminally Negligent Homicide

Criminally negligent homicide is the act of a person causing the death of another person by criminal negligence.

For example, a contractor builds shelves in a department store, but they do not use the proper tools or safety precautions in their work. As a result, the shelves fall over when they are loaded down with products, hitting a customer and killing them.

This crime is similar to manslaughter, but the punishments are not as severe. If convicted, you could be charged with a state jail felony that is punishable by no less than 180 days in jail but no more than 20 years and up to $10,000 in fines.

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Consequences of a Murder Conviction

As stated previously, a person convicted of murder are expected to face severe punishments such as steep fines and years of incarceration. However, the consequences go well beyond the legal territory. Collateral consequences of a murder conviction can include the following:

  • Loss of rights
  • Difficulty obtaining employment
  • Immigration issues, including deportation
  • Loss of professional licenses
  • Restrictions in traveling to other countries
  • Eligibility for housing
  • Loss of the right to own and use a gun
  • Loss of the right to vote
  • Loss of driving privilege

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Additional Recourses

Murder | Texas Penal Code Chapter 19– Visit the Texas Constitution and Statutes website to read through the chapter of the penal code that defines all of the crimes mentioned in this page. You can read the precise legal definition of the mentioned crimes as well as their penalties.

Punishments | Texas Penal Code– Read the full text of the Texas Penal Code that determines how felony and misdemeanor crimes are punished in the state. You can also learn about penalties for crimes committed because of bias or prejudice and the punishments for crimes committed under the influence of a controlled substance.

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Houston Murder Lawyer | Harris County, TX

If you are being investigated for murder, you will need the experienced of a licensed private investigator and defense attorney on your side. Let The Benken Law Firm represent you.

Brian Benken has over 30 years of experience under his belt defending clients in Harris County, and he will fight tooth and nail to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

To schedule a time to speak with Brian Benken about your case, call (713) 223 - 4051. The Benken Law Firm defends clients in all communities throughout Harris County and surrounding counties. Some of these communities include, but are not limited to, Bellaire, Uptown, Hunter Creek Village, Bunker Hill, West University Place, and many others.

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(713) 223 - 4051
Benken Law