What is the Difference Between Manslaughter and Murder in Houston, Texas?

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If you’ve been charged with either murder or manslaughter in Houston, Texas, you’re clearly in some trouble. Regardless of which crime you’re charged with, a conviction will mean several years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. A conviction for any homicide in Houston is going to seriously impact your life. That’s why it’s important that you hire an experienced murder charge defense lawyer in Houston immediately.

Things move quickly when you’re charged with a crime – especially one as serious as murder or manslaughter. Texas is one of the states that still uses the death penalty. If your case meets certain criteria, you could end up being sentenced to death. This is referred to as capital murder. There are very few cases that actually qualify as capital cases. However, even if you’re convicted of one of the lesser homicides, you could spend as much as 20 years in prison.

The difference between spending a few years in prison as compared to the rest of your life is huge. It will come down to whether you’re charged with manslaughter as opposed to murder. Obviously, manslaughter is a lesser charge. However, it still carries a penalty of anywhere from 2-20 years in prison. The difference is, a first degree murder charge carries a penalty of 2-99 years in prison which can feel like, and equate to, a life sentence.

If you’re charged with any serious crime, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Houston. They’ll prepare your defense and work with the prosecutor to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

What is Considered Manslaughter in Houston?

If you kill anyone, you can be charged with homicide. Unlike other states, Texas doesn’t break down degrees of manslaughter. Instead, they have difference types of manslaughter charges. For example, if you kill someone while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you’ll be charged with one crime. But, if you are drag racing and kill someone, you’ll be charged with a different crime.

Under Texas law, there are three main types of homicide. These are:

  • Intoxication Manslaughter – If you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol and get into an accident, you’ll be charged with DWI. However, if someone dies in the accident, you’ll also be charged with intoxication manslaughter. As with the other types of homicide, if convicted, you’ll be facing anywhere from 2-20 years in prison and fines of $10,000.
  • Vehicular Manslaughter – Unlike intoxication manslaughter, you can be charged with this crime if you’re driving and kill someone in any sort of accident. You don’t have to be drunk or on drugs to be charged with this crime. Usually, this charge involves reckless driving or a willful and wanton disregard for the lives of others.
  • Criminally Negligent Manslaughter – The final type of manslaughter charge is this one. With this charge, the prosecution is claiming that you killed someone while behaving negligently. Generally speaking, this type of crime carries a lesser sentence than the other two because of the nature of the crime. However, the punishment is still technically 2-20 years in prison.

Your Houston Criminal Lawyer Knows How is Murder Different from Manslaughter

Unlike manslaughter, murder requires the element of intent. Now, this doesn’t mean intent to kill someone. You could set out to do something without wanting to hurt or kill someone. For example, you may rob a convenience store and have no intentions of actually using the gun. But, if the cashier fights back and you shoot him to death, you will be charged with murder.

There are three main types of murder in Texas. The first is capital murder, which involves the possibility of being sentenced the death. The other two are first and second-degree murder and they both carry a sentence of anywhere from 2-99 years in jail, with or without the possibility of parole.

Contact an Experienced Murder Charge Defense Lawyer in Houston, Texas Right Away

If you’ve been charged with any homicide, you need to call an experienced murder charge defense lawyer right away. Your first hearing will be held within a day or two of being arrested. You can’t afford to handle this on your own.

You need to rely on someone who has handled serious cases before. If you’re charged with manslaughter or murder, you are going to be facing many years in prison. It will take a skilled defense attorney to win your case or negotiate a lesser sentence. Call and schedule your initial consultation today before you lose any more time.

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