Anytime a person loses their life it’s a tragic event, but the stakes are raised when a person is killed at the hands of another. When such an event occurs, it’s referred to as a homicide. The definition of homicide is when a person causes the death of another person. Not all homicides are crimes.
Whether we would refer to a homicide as a murder or not depends on a number of different factors including intent, malice, cases of self-defense, accidental killings, and whether or not it was caused by negligence.
Regardless of the circumstances of the killing, you’ll need an attorney on your side to investigate the details of the incident, to ensure that your rights aren’t infringed, and, most importantly, to have a professional on your side that will advocate on your behalf.
The homicide investigators at the Houston Police Department often make mistakes. Mistakes that can you leave you in dire straights. If you’re facing criminal charges in connection with a homicide, and you’re looking for an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer to fight on your behalf, contact The Law Office of Emily Detoto at 713-227-2244.
Texas Homicide Cases
Criminal charges in homicide cases are determined by the circumstances surrounding the incident. If the homicide is deemed to be a crime, as opposed to cases of self-defense and accidents, either murder, negligent homicide, intoxication manslaughter, or manslaughter charges will apply. We’ve outlined the definition and sentencing guidelines for each prosecutable homicide offense below.
Criminally Negligent Homicide charges may be pursued if a person acted with recklessness and caused the death of another person. Recklessness loosely means that the person should have known that his or her actions could lead to the death of the victim.
When a person is found to have acted in a way that deviated from the standard of care that’s normally associated with said action, and without regard for the safety of others or the consequences of said actions, it’s considered criminally negligent. If a person is convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide they’ll face penalties under State Jail Felony sentencing guidelines.
Example of Criminally Negligent Homicide: Person drives around at night with no headlights, strikes a pedestrian and kills them. Headlights may have malfunctioned, or driver may have forgotten to turn them on. Criminal negligence: driver should have known and appreciated the risk to public safety.
Manslaughter is similar to Criminally Negligent Homicide, but is a more serious offense. Although the recklessness standard applies, if it’s found that the defendant was not only reckless, but also grossly irresponsible, the Harris County District Attorney’s office may escalate the charge to Manslaughter. Manslaughter is a 2nd Degree Felony.
Example of Manslaughter: Person drives around at night with their headlights off, speeding, strikes a pedestrian and kills them. Another example of when manslaughter charges will apply instead of Criminally Negligent Homicide is cases of Intoxication Manslaughter.
Homicide investigations can lead to a Murder charge if it’s determined that a person intentionally caused the death of another person, or intentionally caused injuries which led to the death of another person. It should also be noted that if a person caused injuries to another person, but without the intention of killing them, murder charges will still apply if the person died as a result of those injuries. Murder is a 1st Degree felony in the State of Texas.
Example of Murder: Person intentionally uses their vehicle to run over a person, and that person dies.
Click or press here to learn more about Capital Murder cases.
Facing Serious Criminal Charges in Houston?
Call Attorney Emily Detoto Today
Criminal cases involving the death of a person are serious and could lead to a lengthy prison sentence if the defendant is found guilty. Defendants facing criminal charges of this magnitude need the best qualified attorney they can find if they’re to have any chance against the government.
Attorney Emily Detoto, leader and founder of The Law Office of Emily Detoto, has defended thousands of criminally accused Houstonians during her 20+ year career as a criminal defense attorney in Houston.
A Board Certified® criminal law attorney who has been featured on numerous media outlets due to her successful & superior handling of multiple high-profile cases, few Houston lawyers are better experienced or prepared to help defendants that are facing criminal charges related to a homicide. To contact Attorney Emily Detoto to discuss your case, call our office at 713-227-2244.