Lawyers for Murder / Homicide Defense in Houston, TX | Gonzalez Law Group
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Murder / Homicide

Texas Penal Code § 19.01 establishes that a person commits criminal homicide if he or she intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence causes the death of an individual. Any criminal homicide offense is a serious accusation that carries significant penalties.

Certain crimes listed under this chapter are capital felony offenses, meaning that convictions may be punishable by the death penalty. Any person accused of any kind of homicide crime in Texas will want to be absolutely certain that he or she has experienced legal representation.

Lawyers for Murder / Homicide Defense in Houston, TX

Were you recently arrested or do you think that you might be under investigation for an alleged homicide in Harris County? No matter how confident you are in your innocence, you should still refuse to speak to authorities until you are first able to contact The Gonzalez Law Group.

Our Houston criminal defense attorneys aggressively defend clients in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood and many others.
Call (832) 530-4070 right now to have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.


Harris County Homicide Information Center


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Types of Homicide Crimes in Texas

Homicide is divided into four types of crimes under Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code. The type of homicide that a person is charged with largely depends on his or her alleged intent:

  • Murder — A person commits murder if he or she intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual; 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, he commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual.
  • Capital Murder — A person commits capital murder if her or she commits the crime of murder and murders a peace officer or fireman who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer or fireman; intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat; commits the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration or employs another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration; commits the murder while escaping or attempting to escape from a penal institution; while incarcerated in a penal institution, murders another person who is employed in the operation of the penal institution or with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination; while incarcerated, murders another or while serving a sentence of life imprisonment or a term of 99 years, murders another; murders more than one person during the same criminal transaction or during different criminal transactions but the murders are committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct; murders an individual under 10 years of age; or murders another person in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of the other person as a judge or justice of the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice court, or a municipal court.
  • Voluntary Manslaughter — A person commits manslaughter if he or she recklessly causes the death of an individual. Voluntary manslaughter involves a killing that is committed without premeditation. Voluntary manslaughter charges are typically the result of “heat of passion” killings—violent crimes committed largely as the result of sudden impulses.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter — Unlike voluntary manslaughter, in which a person intended to harm an alleged victim, a person commits involuntary manslaughter if he or she recklessly causes the death of an individual through unintentional actions. A person may be charged with involuntary manslaughter as the result of a death caused because of the commission or attempted commission of another crime, or other preventable actions.
  • Vehicular Manslaughter — When a person recklessly causes the death of an individual because of his or her operation of a motor vehicle, the crime is often referred to as vehicular manslaughter.
  • Intoxication Manslaughter — If an alleged offender in a vehicular manslaughter case is accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI) during the commission of the manslaughter offense, the criminal charge is commonly known as intoxication manslaughter.
  • Criminally Negligent Homicide — A person commits criminally negligent homicide if he or she causes the death of an individual by criminal negligence.

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Murder / Homicide Defenses in Texas

Like many other states in the nation, Texas has a Stand Your Ground law that allows people to justify actions taken in self-defense. Texas Penal Code § 9.31(a) establishes that a person is justified in using force against another individual when and to the degree the person reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect him or herself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.  A belief that the force was immediately necessary is presumed to be reasonable if the person:

  • knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the force was used unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the person’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the person from the person’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery;
  • did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and
  • was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.

Under Texas Penal Code § 9.31(b), however, the use of force against another is not justified:

  • in response to verbal provocation alone;
  • to resist an arrest or search that the person knows is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or search is unlawful unless the resistance is justified under Subsection (c);
  • if the person consented to the exact force used or attempted by the other;
  • if the person provoked the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force, unless the person abandons the encounter, or clearly communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing he cannot safely abandon the encounter and the other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful force against the person; or
  • if the person sought an explanation from or discussion with the other person concerning the person’s differences with the other person while the person was carrying a weapon in violation of Texas Penal Code § 46.02 or possessing or transporting a weapon in violation of Texas Penal Code § 46.05.

Texas Penal Code § 9.32(a) further states that a person is justified in using deadly force against another if he or she would be justified in using force against the other under Texas Penal Code § 9.31 and when and to the degree the person reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary to protect him or herself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force or to prevent the other’s imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.

Under Texas Penal Code § 9.32(b), a person’s belief that the deadly force was immediately necessary is presumed to be reasonable if he or she:

  • knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the deadly force was used unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or was committing or attempting to commit an offense described by Texas Penal Code § 9.32(a)(2)(B);
  • did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and
  • was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.

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Murder / Homicide Resources in Harris County

Homicide Division | City of Houston — The Homicide Division of the Houston Police Department (HPD) investigates all homicide-related offenses in the city. Visit this website to also learn about other divisions of the HPD involved in homicide cases, including the Cold Case Unit, Crime Scene Unit, and Chicano Squad. You can also find news releases and crime statistics.

Houston Police Department

901 Bagby St.

Houston, TX 77002

(713) 884-3131

Texas Penal Code | Chapter 19. Criminal Homicide — View the full text of all state laws in Texas relating to homicide. View definitions for murder, capital murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. You can also learn when the chapter does not apply to the death of an unborn child.


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Murder / Homicide Defense Attorneys in Houston, TX

If you believe that you could be under investigation or you were already arrested for an alleged homicide in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to not make any kind of statement to authorities until you have legal counsel. Contact The Gonzalez Law Group as soon as possible.

Our criminal defense lawyers in Houston represent individuals in Missouri City, Texas City, League City, Sugar Land, Pasadena, Conroe, Galveston, and several other nearby areas throughout Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown and many others. You can have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (832) 530-4070 or fill out an online contact form to set up a free initial consultation.

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