Dozens of Homicide Cases Defended in Williamson county and across central Texas
In Williamson county and across the country, no criminal charge causes more fear among the public and consternation in law enforcement than a when a person has been killed. The Texas offense of Murder is one of a number of different crimes in Texas that deal with "homicide" which occurs when a person kills another person. Among the various homicide offenses are Capital Murder, which carries a maximum potential penalty of death, Manslaughter, Intoxication Manslaughter, and Criminally Negligent Homicide. While Capital Murder is the most serious crime in the Texas penal code, other homicide crimes carry extremely severe penalties as well, ranging from a maximum of life in prison for Murder, 20 years in TDC for manslaughter, and 2 years in the state jail for criminally negligent homicide.
Russ Hunt Jr. has defended over three dozen homicide cases in courts throughout Central Texas. He has tried murder and capital murder cases in Williamson, Travis, Bell, McLennan and Hill counties and is highly qualified and has the experience to handle a homicide case anywhere in the state. Every police department and DA's office takes murder charges extremely seriously, but a suburban, bedroom community like Williamson county puts special emphasis on the prosecution of these cases.
- What is the Texas Murder law?
- What is penalty range for a Murder conviction in Texas?
- How can you defend against a murder or manslaughter charge?
- What is the difference between murder and manslaughter?
- What is Felony Murder and how can a person be convicted of murder if they never intended to kill anyone?
- What is Criminally Negligent Homicide?
The Texas offense of Murder is defined in the Texas Penal Code at Section 19.02:
(b) A person commits an offense if he:
(1) intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual;
(2) intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual; or
(3) commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission or attempt, he commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual.
Murder is punishable as a first degree felony, with a range of punishment from 5 to 99 years or life in prison. However, if the person charged can prove that he or she “caused the death under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause” by a preponderance of the evidence at the punishment stage of a trial (after conviction), then the offense is punishable as as second degree felony with a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. A jury cannot give probation for a murder conviction.
The best approach to defending against a homicide charge will begin before an arrest is made. If you are under investigation for a homicide crime, please contact Russ–before you agree to speak to police investigators or submit to an interrogation. The decision about whether to cooperate with a police investigation is not a decision you should make alone: you need the advice of a criminal defense attorney and you need representation throughout the process.
The best defense also involves actively working up the case. In a case as serious as a homicide, the attorney must ensure that the police conducted a thorough and independent investigation, including evaluating the police department's investigation and forensic evidence. Russ Hunt Jr. is very experienced in defending homicide cases and he will arrange all of the pieces of a defense team in order to ensure that your defense is the most effective possible approach.
One goal for an unindicted homicide charge is always to try and convince the DA to get the murder or manslaughter indictment no-billed, before formal charges are returned.
If you or a loved-one has already been arrested for homicide, then the case is not over–it is only just beginning. Throughout the case, Russ works to confront the State on all of the evidence it plans to use against his clients. Russ will use his deep experience in defending homicide charges to explore the evidence and find the most powerful and strategic legal defenses to all of the state's accusations.
Criminal Homicide is codified under Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code. Texas state law says criminal homicide is classified as either murder, capital murder, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide.
A person can be convicted of murder under Texas state law when that person:
- Intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual; OR
- Intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual; OR
- Commits or attempts to commit a felony, other than manslaughter, and in the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempt, or in immediate flight from the commission or attempt, the person commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual.
In the first two circumstances, a person must have the intent to commit harm. The state must prove that the person acted with the required intent. However, under the third category of murder, where a person kills someone while they are committing a felony offense and then they do an act that is “clearly dangerous to human life” they can be convicted of murder without any intent to harm anyone. This type of murder is commonly known as Felony Murder.
All murder convictions are first degree felonies, meaning that a conviction will require a prison term of 5 to 99 years, or life, in Texas state prison.
The definition of manslaughter under Texas law differs from murder in the "intent" requirement – a person commits manslaughter under Texas law if the person recklesslycauses the death of an individual. Manslaughter is a felony of the second degree.
The two main differences between murder and manslaughter are:
- The intent required for the killing, i.e. was the killing intentional, knowing or reckless or was it caused by committing a "clearly dangerous" act while committing another felony
- The penalty range: first degree felony for murder and second degree felony for manslaughter.
Under Texas law, criminally negligent homicide is an offense committed when a person causes the death of another person by “criminal negligence.” Criminal negligence is very close to an accidental standard of intent.
The offense of criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony.
Russ Hunt, Jr. is known for powerful, compassionate representation.
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If you or someone you know has been charged or accused of murder, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide in Williamson county, Travis county or anywhere in Central Texas, you need to have experienced, aggressive representation from an attorney like Russ Hunt, Jr. who will fight on your side.