Were you recently charged with homicide in Plano, TX? If so, you already know that you’re in a serious situation. An aggressive defense is your only option–and an experienced Plano homicide lawyer at Edgett Law Firm can take immediate action to protect your legal rights.
We have more than 22 years of experience fighting for clients accused of violent crimes in Plano, Texas. Our Collin County criminal defense attorneys have an impressive record of securing “not guilty” verdicts.
Our team offers free consultation so that you can get the legal advice you need. If you were arrested or charged, call our law offices day or night to learn more about how we’ll put our skills to work for you.
How Edgett Law Firm Can Help if You Were Arrested for Homicide in Plano, Texas?
Being arrested on homicide charges can be frightening. Homicide is one of the most serious criminal offenses a person can face–far more serious than drug or white collar crimes. Texas prosecutors take these cases seriously–and they’ll throw the full weight of their resources into your case to obtain a conviction.
Your life may literally be on the line–and your freedom is always in jeopardy when you’re facing murder charges. You deserve an experienced Plano criminal defense lawyer who knows how to fight for you. At Edgett Law Firm, we aren’t afraid to stand up for our clients’ rights.
When you hire our lawyers, we will:
- Locate all available evidence in your case
- Carefully evaluate the prosecution’s evidence and arguments
- Identify any constitutional violations and move to have illegally obtained evidence thrown out
- Negotiate with state prosecutors to have your charges downgraded or case dismissed if possible
- Develop the most aggressive defense strategy possible, custom-tailored to the facts of your case
- Make sure you understand all of your legal options, including plea bargains
When you’re facing serious charges, you need an experienced lawyer in your corner. Our Plano criminal defense attorneys have handled more than a thousand complex criminal cases. We go the extra mile for our clients to make sure judges and juries hear your side of the story.
Time is of the essence if you’re facing criminal charges. Call our offices today to schedule your free consultation and learn more.
Overview of Texas Homicide Laws
The Texas laws on homicide are broken down into several separate offenses.
Depending on the facts of your case, you could be charged with:
- Capital murder
- Criminally negligent homicide
The punishment for these crimes can vary in severity depending upon the circumstances and your past criminal history. However, there is no such thing as a “minor” homicide charge. If you’re accused of ending another person’s life, it’s critical that you have experienced legal help on your side.
At Edgett Law Firm, we handle all types of homicide cases, including those involving:
Under Texas Penal Code Section 19.02, a Texas prosecutor can convict on murder charges if they can prove that the defendant:
- Intentionally or knowingly caused the death of another person
- While intending to cause serious bodily injury, causes the death of another person while committing an act that was clearly dangerous to that person’s life
- Causes another person’s death while committing, or attempting to commit, another felony (other than manslaughter) or while fleeing the scene of the crime
It’s not always necessary for the prosecution to prove you intended to kill someone to convict on murder charges. Murder charges can stick if the prosecutors can prove you intended to commit an act that was clearly dangerous to human life and, as a result, caused someone’s death.
Murder is usually a first-degree felony in the state of Texas. A “heat of passion” defense might reduce the charge to a second-degree felony if the act was committed “under the immediate influence of a sudden passion arising from an adequate cause.” A common example of the heat of passion is a spouse killing another spouse’s lover after discovering infidelity.
A capital murder charge puts the death penalty on the table. Under Texas Penal Code Section 19.03, capital murder is “murder,” as defined above, with extenuating circumstances.
The charges can be elevated to capital murder if one or more of the following are true:
- The victim was a child
- The defendant knew that the victim was a peace officer or fireman acting in an official capacity
- The murder was intentional and committed in the course of committing, or attempting to commit, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threats
- The situation is a “murder for hire” case where the defendant commits murder for payment or promise of payment, or pays (or promises to pay) someone else to commit murder
- The defendant murders someone while escaping or attempting to escape prison, or if the victim is a prison employee
- There is a “crime spree” where the defendant murders more than one person in the course of committing a crime or during the course of criminal conduct
- The victim is a judge, and the murder was retaliation
Prosecutors are authorized, but not obligated, to seek the death penalty in capital murder cases.
Manslaughter charges apply when the defendant is accused of recklessly causing the death of another person. Murder charges can also be downgraded to manslaughter if the “heat of passion” defense applies.
Manslaughter is a second-degree felony under Texas state law.
Notably, Texas law doesn’t distinguish between voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. If the prosecution can prove the defendant acted recklessly, a manslaughter conviction can stick even if the defendant did not intend to hurt anyone.
Criminally Negligent Homicide
Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony under Texas Penal Code Section 19.05.
A defendant can be found guilty of criminally negligent homicide if the defendant:
- Was criminally negligent
- That negligence caused another person’s death
Negligent homicide charges are based on the fact that everyone has a duty to behave reasonably to avoid endangering the safety of others.
For example, all Texas residents have a duty to stop and provide aid if they’re involved in a car accident. Criminally negligent homicide charges can apply in hit and run accident cases where the at-fault driver fails to stop and render help, and the victim dies.
What are the Penalties for a Homicide Conviction in Plano, Texas?
Penalties for a homicide conviction depend upon how the crime is graded. They also depend upon the specific circumstances and your prior history. However, it’s important to remember that homicide is always a felony in Texas–and any homicide charges carry a potential prison sentence.
Under Texas criminal laws, the following punishments may apply:
- State jail felony charges: Between 180 days and two years in state jail
- Second-degree felony charges: Between two years and 20 years in prison
- First-degree felony charges: Between five years and 99 years in prison
- Capital murder charges: The death penalty or life in prison without possibiiity of parole
Felony charges in Texas also carry a maximum $10,000 financial penalty.
Regardless of the precise charges, the punishment can be severe–much too severe to trust your case with just any lawyer. At Edgett Law Firm, our Plano homicide defense attorneys know the legal system inside and out. We’ll work tirelessly to make it difficult or impossible for the prosecution to convict.
To learn more about defense options if you were accused of a crime, call our office today for a free consultation.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Homicide in Texas?
Texas laws require prosecutors to prove a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to convict. Prosecutors and police officers are also required to respect your rights during all phases of the criminal process–from investigation to arrest and interrogation.
You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to hold them to these obligations. When you hire Edgett Law Firm, we’ll develop a defense strategy tailored to the facts of your case. We might try to show that you’re entirely innocent. In other cases, we’ll poke holes by diminishing the strength of the prosecution’s case.
Potential defense strategies that we might use in a homicide case include:
- Lack of evidence, meaning the prosecution lacks the evidence to prove all elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt
- Mistaken identity
- Violation of your rights
- Heat of Passion
- Challenges to witness credibility
- Problems with forensic evidence
At Edgett Law Firm, you can trust us to aggressively protect your rights every step of the way. In addition to regularly being recognized as super lawyers, we have over 22 years of experience and countless satisfied clients to back us up. Call today to learn more about how we’ll put our knowledge to work for you.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Plano Homicide Lawyer Today
If you or a family member have been charged with a crime in Plano, the clock is already ticking. The sooner you contact a Plano homicide lawyer, the sooner we can start fighting to get the charge dropped or downgraded. At Edgett Law Firm, we offer a free consultation, so call us today to get started.