CRIMINAL HOMICIDE

TEXAS PENAL CODE
TITLE 5. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON
CHAPTER 19. CRIMINAL HOMICIDE

The following is a brief explanation of Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code regarding Criminal Homicide. This is not to be construed as legal advice for any particular case. See also the full text of the Chapter 19. Criminal Homicide.

What is Murder?

The crime of Murder in Texas is governed by Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code. Under Section 19.02, murder in Texas is defined in three separate ways, as follows:

  • Murder is committed by intentionally killing another person; or
  • Murder is committed by intentionally hurting another person and doing something so dangerous that it causes that person to die; or
  • Murder is committed when a person commits or attempts to commit a serious crime, and while doing that crime or escaping, doing something so dangerous that it causes another person to die (Felony Murder).

Murder is a First-Degree Felony*.  The range of punishment is 5-99 years (or Life) in Prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.

*If the Murder was committed due to a sudden passion, then it is punished as a Second-Degree Felony.  The range of punishment is 2-20 years in Prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.

What is Capital Murder?

The crime of Capital Murder is governed by Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code. Under section 19.03, a murder is treated as a capital murder under any of the following circumstances:

  • Intentionally killing a law officer or fireperson while he or she is on duty; or
  • Intentionally killing someone while committing or trying to commit certain crimes:
    • Kidnapping;
    • Burglary;
    • Robbery;
    • Aggravated sexual assault;
    • Arson;
    • Obstruction;
    • Retaliation;
    • or as part of a Terroristic Threat.
  • Killing a person for money or paying someone to kill a person; or
  • Killing someone while trying to escape from jail or prison; or
  • Killing an employee of the jail or prison while locked up;
  • Killing someone when two or more people plot the killing or try to make money from the killing while locked up;
  • Killing another person while already locked up for a prior murder; or while serving a life sentence for any crime; or while serving 99 years for aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, or aggravated robbery; or
  • Killing more than one person while committing a crime, or killing more than one person while committing different crimes that are related to each other; or
  • Killing a child under age ten; or
  • Killing a judge just because he is a judge or to get revenge for the judge’s rulings.

The range of punishment for the offense of Capital Murder in Texas can be a sentence of death.

What is Manslaughter?

The crime of Manslaughter in Texas is governed by Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code.

Under section 19.04, manslaughter is the death of a person caused by another person’s reckless actions. Manslaughter is not an intentional killing, rather is a person dying because of another person’s reckless actions.

Manslaughter is a Second-Degree Felony.  The range of punishment is 2-20 years in Prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.

What is Criminally Negligent Homicide?

Under section 19.05, Criminally Negligent Homicide is the death of a person caused by another person’s extremely careless behavior. Criminally Negligent Homicide is not an intentional killing, but rather a person dying because of another person’s irresponsible behavior.

Criminally Negligent Homicide is a State Jail Felony.  The range of punishment is 180 days – 2 years in a State Jail Facility, and up to a $10,000 fine.

FORT WORTH

Primary Location
209 W. 8th St
Fort Worth, TX 76102
817.993.9249

KELLER

*By Appointment Only
204 S. Main St #195
Keller, Texas 76248
817.482.6770

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