If you’re facing homicide charges in Dallas, TX, you’re in a serious situation. You probably already know that. In Texas, the death penalty might be on the table. You could also face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Your lawyer’s expertise can make or break your case, so it’s important to hire someone with experience and talent.
You should also look for a lawyer with a proven track record of defending clients at trial. At the Edgett Law Firm, our Dallas homicide defense lawyers in Dallas have both.
We’re known for aggressively defending clients’ rights before a judge and jury at trial. We have the skills and resources to handle even the most complex homicide cases. To learn more, just call for a free consultation with an experienced Dallas homicide lawyer today.
Hiring an Experienced Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer is Key to Protecting Your Future
If the prosecution has charged you with homicide, the state probably has serious evidence to support that claim. Some of that evidence is bound to be fairly ugly. It’s important that you have an experienced, respected defense lawyer to tell your side of the story.
At the Edgett Law Firm, our lawyers aren’t afraid to fight for defendants accused of murder in Texas. We know that your family and your freedom depend on us, and we take that attorney-client relationship seriously. We’re committed to giving you the strongest defense possible.
Our Dallas, TX criminal defense attorneys can help improve your chances by:
Locating All Exculpatory Evidence
The prosecution will try to frame your case in a certain way–a way that makes you look as guilty as possible. At the Edgett Law Firm, we conduct our own investigation. That way, we can locate favorable evidence to support your innocence. That evidence is called exculpatory evidence.
Technically, you don’t have to prove your innocence when you’re charged with murder. As a practical matter, if exculpatory evidence does exist, we can use it to get your charges dropped or downgraded.
We’ve been handling murder defense cases for years in Texas. We know how to locate relevant evidence and can even work with experts to help us find it. It’s our job to find anything we can to support your innocence–and we have a proven record of successfully doing just that.
Helping You Understand Your Options
When you’re accused of taking someone’s life, the prosecution has an arsenal of potential criminal charges they can bring against you. They might offer a lesser charge in exchange for a guilty plea. That makes the prosecutor’s job easier, but isn’t always the best choice for you.
Our lawyers will work with you to make sure you understand the consequences of accepting or declining a plea deal. It’s a decision that will impact the rest of your life, so we want to make sure you have all of the facts before choosing the plea option.
Negotiating With the Prosecution
If a plea deal is in your best interests, we want to make sure you get the best deal possible. We’ll use the evidence we’ve gathered to poke holes in the prosecution’s case. That way, the prosecutor will be more inclined to negotiate a better deal.
In other cases, we’ll work to show the prosecution that their case is weak–and that they aren’t likely to convict at trial. Our primary goal is to convince the prosecutor to reduce or drop your charges.
Overview of Texas Laws on Homicide
In Texas, murder charges are broken down into several groups, including: capital murder, murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. Our lawyers handle all types of Texas homicide cases, including:
Under Section 19.02 of the Texas Penal Code, the prosecution can convict on murder charges if they can prove the defendant:
- Intentionally or knowingly caused the death of another
- Intended to cause serious bodily injury to another, and committed an act that was clearly dangerous to the life of that person, resulting in the person’s death
- Causes the death of another in the course of committing, or attempting to commit, another felony (other than manslaughter) or fleeing from the scene after committing a felony
Murder is a first-degree felony. If the actor committed the crime in the heat of passion, the homicide might be downgraded to second-degree felony charges.
Texas Penal Code Section 19.03 defines capital murder as murder (outlined above), if, for example:
- The victim is a peace officer or fireman
- The murder is intentional and committed in the course of committing (or attempting) kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation or, in some cases, terroristic threats
- The murder is committed while the actor is attempting to escape from jail, or the victim is a prison employee
- More than one person is murdered in the course of the same crime or crime spree
- The victim is a child
The prosecution is authorized to seek the death penalty in capital murder cases. Even if the prosecution cannot prove capital murder, the jury can still go on to convict on lesser murder charges under Texas law.
Manslaughter charges apply when the actor is accused of recklessly causing someone else’s death. In most cases, manslaughter is a second-degree felony.
Manslaughter charges will typically apply when we can prove that the homicide took place in the heat of a sudden passion. Unlike in other states, there’s no real difference between voluntary or involuntary manslaughter in Texas.
The key issue is whether you were reckless and caused someone’s death. To show recklessness, the prosecution will try to prove that you were aware of the risk and disregarded that risk. For example, in cases of voluntary intoxication, manslaughter charges may apply.
The courts will, however, consider all relevant factors in determining sentencing.
Criminally Negligent Homicide
Criminally negligent homicide is a charge that applies when the defendant was negligent, and that careless behavior caused the death of another person. Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony under Section 19.05 of the Texas Penal Code.
Punishment for a Homicide Conviction in Dallas, TX
If convicted on homicide charges in Texas, you could face the following punishment, depending upon how the crime is graded:
- State jail felony. If convicted, you’ll face between 180 days and two years in state jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.
- Second-degree felony. Second-degree charges carry between two and 20 years in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines.
- First-degree felony. First-degree homicide charges carry between five and 99 years in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Capital felony. In capital cases, the state can seek the death penalty. If they choose not to seek the death penalty, you can still face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Regardless of the specific homicide charges, it’s critical to have a strong lawyer in your corner. At the Edgett Law Firm, our aggressive homicide defense lawyers in Dallas will make the prosecutor’s job as difficult as possible. To learn more about defense options in your case, call our law offices today.
Potential Defense Strategies in Homicide Cases
There are a number of defense strategies commonly used in homicide cases. Some defenses are designed to show that the actor is completely innocent of all homicide charges. Some are designed to prevent the prosecution from proving the specific version of homicide charged.
At the Edgett Law Firm, we tailor our defense strategies to the specific facts of your case. Depending on the circumstances, we might employ any of the following defense strategies in your case:
In Texas, you have the right to defend yourself and others when necessary to protect yourself or someone else from harm. This right is limited to the use of force that is reasonable and justifiable under the circumstances.
If you were defending yourself and caused someone else’s death, self-defense may be a viable defense tactic.
Homicide charges are sometimes based upon eyewitness testimony. Witnesses are only human and mistakenly identify people as criminals all the time. We can work with experts to show that you were misidentified, whether because of racial bias or otherwise.
The alibi defense to homicide is very real. In today’s world, we might be able to use GPS data to prove that you were somewhere else when the homicide happened. We can also use more traditional techniques and present eyewitness testimony as to your whereabouts.
Every homicide classification has its own set of elements. If the prosecution doesn’t have the evidence to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt, you can’t be convicted for the crime.
Our lawyers will work to poke holes in the prosecution’s case to create doubt in the minds of the judge and jury. For example, a strong homicide defense may present an alternative explanation to the prosecution’s circumstantial evidence.
Call Today to Learn How an Experienced Dallas Homicide Lawyer Can Help
At the Edgett Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys have helped countless clients beat their charges over the years. We’ll use our extensive experience and resources to make the strongest case in your defense.
If you or a family member are facing homicide charges in Dallas, the importance of getting experienced legal help cannot be overstated. We’re standing by and ready to help, so call for a free consultation with a Dallas homicide lawyer today. We provide legal advice for clients in Dallas Fort Worth and across North Texas.