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Denton Murder Defense Lawyer

Murder | Magaña & Van Dyke

Denton County Murder Defense Attorney Serving Denton

In Texas, murder is one of the most serious offenses, and it is punishable by life in prison or death. If you've been accused of this crime, your situation might seem hopeless, as the State will use its extensive resources to obtain a conviction. However, there is hope, and you may be able to work toward an optimal result, such as getting charges dropped or the case dismissed. Doing so requires the help of a Denton criminal defense attorney who knows the law and how to raise and present compelling defenses.

At Magaña & Van Dyke, we understand that, if you've been charged with murder, your life may be on the line. That is why we take such cases seriously. Our strategic approach begins by thoroughly assessing your circumstances, listening to your side of the story, and getting the full picture of the situation. From there, we examine all evidence the State has regarding your case, looking for weaknesses and areas to strengthen your defense. We truly care about the outcome of your case, and we will be diligent as we guide you through the process. From beginning to conclusion, we'll be by your side, delivering the sound legal advice you need.

Schedule a free consultation by calling our Denton murder defense lawyers at 940-382-1976 or contacting us online today.

How Texas Defines Murder

Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code enumerates two types of the unlawful killing of another: murder and capital murder.

Murder is a criminal homicide offense that occurs when a person:

  • Intentionally or knowingly takes another's life;
  • Engages in dangerous conduct intending to seriously injure someone and causes their death; or
  • During the commission or attempted commission of a felony (or while fleeing from the scene of the offense), engages in a dangerous act and causes the death of another

What Does Capital Murder Mean in Texas?

Capital murder is the killing of another occurring under specific circumstances.These include when:

  • The victim was a police officer or firefighter engaged in their lawful duties;
  • The murder is intentionally committed during any of the following offenses:
  • The murder was committed in exchange for money;
  • The murder was committed when the person was escaping a correctional facility;
  • The murder was committed while the alleged actor was incarcerated;
  • The alleged offender murdered more than one person either during the same crime or during different but related offenses;
  • The alleged victim was under 15 years of age; or
  • The alleged victim was a judge or justice, and the murder was committed in retaliation for their service.

Penalties for Murder in Texas

Both murder and capital murder carry severe punishments.

Murder is a first-degree felony and is penalized by:

  • Between 5 and 99 years or life in prison, and/or
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Capital murder is a capital felony. A conviction carries a term of imprisonment of life without parole or the death sentence.

Possible Defenses Against Murder Charges in Texas

Depending on the circumstances, defendants charged with murder may be able to raise certain defenses in their cases. One possible way to challenge such accusations is by proving that the defendant acted in self-defense or in defense of another.

For the self-defense challenge to apply, the defendant must have acted with deadly force if they reasonably believed such action was warranted and justified under the circumstances. That means that in the same or a similar situation, a reasonable person would have felt immediately threatened and determined that deadly force was called for.

Important limitations to the self-defense claim exist, including:

  • The defendant cannot be the aggressor. For instance, if Rosie killed Berty, she cannot claim her actions were in self-defense if she were the initial attacker, even if Berty responded with violence.
  • The use of force cannot have happened after a verbal provocation. This means a person cannot use deadly force on someone who insulted them.
  • The force used must be proportionate to the initial attack. For example, if Berty punched Rosie, Rosie cannot stab Berty multiple times and say her actions were in self-defense.

When Is Deadly Force Justified in Texas?

Additionally, under Texas Penal Code § 9.32, deadly force may be considered to be justified in certain circumstances, including when:

  • It's necessary to protect someone against another person's unlawful use of deadly force; or
  • It's used to prevent the commission of:
    • Aggravated kidnapping,
    • Murder,
    • Sexual assault,
    • Aggravated sexual assault,
    • Robbery, or
    • Aggravated robbery.

Contact Our Denton County Murder Defense Lawyer

If you've been charged with murder in Denton County, Magaña & Van Dyke is here to provide the defense you need. We have extensive experience protecting the rights of those accused of serious offenses, and we will do everything in our legal power to seek a just result in your case.

Contact our Denton murder defense attorneys and schedule a free consultation by calling 940-382-1976.

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