How Are Manslaughter and Murder Different in Texas?

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Many people assume that the act of homicide is treated the same regardless of the circumstances. While it’s true that taking the life of another person will almost always have severe and life-altering consequences, there are distinctions between homicide charges in Texas. As such, understanding how murder and manslaughter differ is critical, so you’ll want to continue reading as the following blog explores what you should know. If you are facing charges, it is imperative to connect with Houston homicide defense attorneys to explore your legal options and determine the best course of action for your circumstances.

What Constitutes a Murder Charge?

In Texas, any time you intentionally cause the death of an individual, you can be charged with murder. This is also warranted if you intentionally inflict injuries that can be life-threatening and severe, causing the death of an individual.

It’s important to understand that Texas charges murder charges based on the circumstances. This means that Texas does not charge murder as first or second-degree but rather as “capital murder” or “murder.” The difference between these two charges is that capital murder is an offense that warrants capital punishment. As such, if you kill a police officer, murder multiple people, kill a child under ten years old, or commit a “murder-for-hire,” you can be charged with capital murder.

How Does Texas Define Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is generally charged to those who recklessly cause the death of another person. Unlike other states that charge this as “voluntary” or “involuntary,” Texas does not differentiate between the two.

While Texas does not differentiate between voluntary and involuntary, one essential thing to keep in mind is that Texas does have a separate offense for someone who commits manslaughter while driving drunk. This is because the state believes that those who drive under the influence of alcohol do not do so to kill another person but that they should know doing so can likely result in the death of another person.

As such, the difference between murder and manslaughter relies solely on intent. If it can be proven that you had intent to deprive another person of their life, you can be charged and convicted of murder. However, if intent can not be proven, but the defense can illustrate that you did take the life of another person, you will face a manslaughter charge.

What Should I Do if I’m Arrested on Homicide Charges?

In the event you are charged with any form of homicide, whether that’s murder or manslaughter, understanding how to proceed is critical. You should, under no circumstances, speak to the police until you have retained legal representation. As soon as you are under arrest, inform the officer you want an attorney and then invoke your Fifth Amendment right to silence.

You must obtain competent legal representation as soon as possible if you are under arrest for murder or manslaughter charges. The team at the Gonzalez Law Group understands the impact these charges can have on your life, which is why we will do everything in our power to assist you through these challenging times. Connect with us today to discover how our competent team can help fight for you during these difficult times.