How will you know if you will be charged with murder or manslaughter?
The difference between manslaughter and murder comes down to the defendant’s mental state at the time they caused the death of another person. Murder generally requires an “intentional” or “knowing” mental state for the offense committed. In other words, the defendant intentionally or knowingly caused the death of another person. The mental state requirement for manslaughter is “recklessly,” meaning the defendant’s reckless actions caused the death. The practical effect of this is when a person is charged with manslaughter, their punishment is capped at 20 years in prison, while a person facing a murder charge is facing up to life in prison.
Manslaughter in Texas
Manslaughter is recklessly causing the death of another. The potential punishment for manslaughter is a second-degree felony– 2 to 20 years in prison.
What is murder in Texas?
Under the Texas Penal Code, there are three ways a person can commit the offense of murder. If he or she:
→ intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another person;
→ intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits and 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 the felonious behavior, commits an act clearly dangerous to human life and causes a death.
Murder is a first-degree felony, punishable by five years to up to life in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
If you have been charged with any category of homicide, contact us at (817) 345-3637 for a free consultation with an experienced homicide lawyer. We have handled every type of homicide charge, ranging from capital murder to criminally negligent homicide. When the stakes are this high, it’s imperative that you have the very best defense possible.