Dedicated And Skilled Defense Against Homicide Charges
If you are accused of causing another person’s death, you know the stakes could not be higher. As a capital punishment state, Texas is known for taking such cases very seriously. When you face a murder or manslaughter charge, do not take any chances. You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has managed these cases in the past.
Our attorneys at Clarissa Fernandez Pratt, Attorney at Law, have each practiced for over 10 years and have tried over 125 jury cases combined in that time. We represent clients on charges of violent offenses throughout San Antonio, Bexar County, as well as throughout Texas. Our lawyers are dedicated professionals who give each client the one-on-one service they deserve while fiercely defending their legal rights.
The State Definition Of Murder
According to the Texas Penal Code, murder is defined as a person committing criminal homicide either recklessly, knowingly, intentionally or via criminal negligence causing the loss of life in another individual. This definition means that you could face murder charges even if you did not deliberately end someone’s life.
Understanding Homicide Charges
There are more homicide charges under Texas law than most people think. Each offense has its own set of unique elements that the prosecution must prove. The main charges include:
- Capital murder – As the most serious of murder charges, you will only face this charge under certain circumstances. For example, it may apply if you killed someone during a burglary, rape or aggravated robbery. It can also include killing a child under 10, killing a police officer and murder for hire. Prosecutors often seek the death penalty in these cases.
- First-degree murder – This is the intentional killing of another person, often shown through premeditation or planning the murder in advance. This is a first-degree felony, carrying a penalty of five years to life in prison.
- Second- and third-degree murder – When you intend to cause bodily injury to someone and they die as a result, you could face second-degree murder, even if your original intent was not to kill them. You may face third-degree murder if someone died while you were committing another felony offense. These felony charges usually carry a penalty of between two and 20 years in prison.
- Manslaughter – Unfortunately, accidents can result in death. If law enforcement alleges that you acted in such a reckless way that you caused someone’s death, you could face either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter charges. Manslaughter charges are usually second-degree felonies with a prison term from two to 20 years and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Criminally negligent homicide – Similar to manslaughter, you can face charges even if you did not intend to cause a death as long as the prosecutor can show that you should have known your actions could lead to someone’s serious injury or death. For example, law enforcement could charge you with reckless driving that led to a fatal accident. The penalties run from 180 days in jail to two years.
- Intoxication manslaughter – In Texas, if you drive while intoxicated (DWI) and cause a fatal accident, you could face intoxication manslaughter charges. This second-degree felony carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Our murder defense attorneys will help you understand your situation and any options you have. They will begin building your defense case on day one, examining issues such as your intent, whether you acted in self-defense or whether law enforcement violated your constitutional rights during their investigation.
How A Murder Defense Attorney Can Benefit You
There are many benefits that skilled representation can offer you instead of settling for a plea deal or hoping for the best on your own. Our lawyers can review the details of your case for any opportunities of dismissing your charges. They can also bolster your defense by actions like consulting with expert witnesses and scrutinizing the evidence against you. Additionally, they can help you build a defense strategy based on the unique details of your case.
Common Defense Strategies For Murder Charges
Even if it feels like there is no defending you against your charges, there may still be hope. There are many different defense strategies that could apply to your case, including:
- Police error
- Missing or tampered evidence
- An unavoidable accident
- Mistaken identity
Our team will take the time to determine what grounds for defense are available in your case and begin developing a strategy to present them in court.
Start Building Your Defense Today
You have no time to waste. The sooner you begin building your defense with experienced legal representation, the stronger your case can be. To schedule a free initial consultation with a criminal defense attorney you can count on, please contact our firm online or call our San Antonio office at 210-920-2535. Hablamos español.