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Criminal Defense

Murder

Murder is defined in Section 19.02 of the Texas Penal Code. It occurs when a person “intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual.” It can also happen if a person causes the death of another individual while participating in a dangerous activity. Murder is a capital offense when it is committed in conjunction with another felony or while avoiding capture.

Murder is a very serious crime in Texas, as defendants can face the death penalty if they are convicted. Aside from capital punishment, an individual may face steep fines and up to 99 years in prison if he is found guilty of murder charges.

How a Murder Defense Attorney Can Help

The state of Texas is known for severely punishing murderers. District attorneys prosecute murder charges aggressively because it shows that they are “tough on crime.” In their zeal to provide justice, prosecutors sometimes accuse and convict innocent people. A person who is accused of murder needs to hire an experienced and knowledgeable murder defense attorney to represent him in a court of law. A murder defense lawyer can help his client in the following ways:

  • Suppressing certain kinds of evidence
  • Studying DNA and forensic evidence
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Reconstructing a crime scene
  • Consulting with experts
  • Exploiting affirmative defenses

Guilt and the Penalty Phase

A murder trial is carried out in two stages. During the stage, the court determines whether a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The state of Texas must prove each and every element of the crime in order to confirm guilt. If a defendant is found guilty, a subsequent trial is scheduled to determine the appropriate punishment. A defendant may then bring up any mitigating circumstances that could result in a lesser sentence. A defense attorney may argue that his client:

  • Acted in the “heat of passion”
  • Was involuntarily intoxicated
  • Does not have a criminal history
  • Is mentally unstable

Please contact the Gilligan Law Firm, L.L.P to schedule a FREE consultation at (713) 529-9200.

 

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