murder in texas

Murder in Texas | Murder Criminal Defense Attorney in Texas

Few attorneys in Texas have heard the words “not guilty” from a jury after defending their client on the charge of murder. We have. Our attorneys have handled dozens of murder cases over the decades, first as prosecutors and now as defense attorneys. Experience matters.

What is Murder in Texas?

Murder generally means that the accused is charged with intentionally or knowingly killing another person. The definition for murder in Texas is broader than that, and it includes deaths that were caused unintentionally, where the accused acted with the intent to cause serious bodily injury and committed an act that was clearly dangerous to the life of another. Murder can also be charged against a person who is committing a felony commits an act that is clearly dangerous to human life and causes a death.

What is the punishment range for Murder?

Murder is a first degree felony in Texas, so the punishment range is 5-99 years or life in prison.

Can You Get Probation from a Jury for Murder in Texas?

Texas does not allow juries to give probation for murder, pursuant to Code of Criminal Procedure 42A.056.

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Can You Get an Appeal Bond after a Jury finds you Guilty of Murder?

No. Code of Criminal Procedure Article 44.04 prohibits an appeal bond on murder.

The Sudden Passion Defense in Texas

One affirmative defense to murder is the defense of sudden passion. However, sudden passion is not a complete defense. If the defense proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the death was a result of sudden passion, then the offense is a second degree felony.

Sec. 19.02. MURDER

(b) A person commits an offense if he:

(1) intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual;

(2) intends to cause serious bodily injury and commits an act clearly dangerous to human life that causes the death of an individual; or

(3) 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.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.

(d) At the punishment stage of a trial, the defendant may raise the issue as to whether he caused the death under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause. If the defendant proves the issue in the affirmative by a preponderance of the evidence, the offense is a felony of the second degree.

Click here for the difference between murder and capital murder in Texas.

Varghese Summersett

All of our senior attorneys are former state and federal prosecutors who have tried cases involving deaths in front of juries in Texas. An important factor in determining who you should have represent you is the experience they bring to the table. Few firms in the state have over 550 jury trials and thousands of criminal cases worth of experience. Few have the experience handling high-profile cases and managing the public’s opinion about their case. If you or a loved one has been charged with a serious or violent offense, call us at (817) 203-2220.

Contact us

Call us at (817) 203-2220 for a complimentary strategy session. Our team of former prosecutors and Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyers are here to help. During this call we will:

  • Discuss the facts of your case;
  • Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
  • Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.

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Review by a Client

By: A. Jones

Title: Murder: Not Guilty

I was arrested for murder on March, 27, 2014 I received a court-appointed attorney whose name I won’t discuss. She was no good for me never made communication or put forth the effort to help me. Then a blessing came I received Joetta Keene and Christie Jack. Two of the best lawyers I’ve ever witnessed. They are amazing watching them work left me in awe. I would not want to be on the wrong end of an argument with these ladies. Christie is so soft spoken, but the woman sure can make people tremble in their seat. I was nervous for the opposition. She grilled them good. As far as communication goes this woman did more for me in 2 months than my previous Lawyer did in 2 years this speaks volumes to her work ethic. She prepared for a murder trial at such a short notice. When we got the not guilty verdict. It was the right verdict but it was a well-deserved win for this nice lady. Very compassionate, I will forever recommend Mrs. Jack to anyone with legal troubles. One of the best in Texas. No Mrs. Jack was the blessing I needed and as a court-appointed attorney she did high class work. I’m forever grateful.

Rating:★★★★★ 5 / 5 stars



Benson Varghese

Managing Partner at Varghese Summersett PLLC
Benson Varghese is the founder and Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a prolific writer and has authored hundreds of articles about criminal law in Texas and at the Federal level. His articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Above the Law, and have been selected as Top Blogs by the State Bar of Texas. He was named the Young Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by the Tarrant County Bar Association. Benson led the firm to become one of the 500 fastest growing businesses in the United States by Inc 500 Magazine in 2018. In the same year, the firm was named the Best Law Firm in Fort Worth by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.
Benson Varghese