Murder Defense Lawyer in Austin, TX
Murder charges are among the most serious criminal charges a person can face. Murder in Texas may be punished by life in prison or a death sentence in some cases.
Anyone facing murder charges in Texas needs to engage an experienced murder defense lawyer as soon as possible. An Austin murder defense lawyer with Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., can respond to your needs, work to have the charges reduced and prepare to represent you effectively if your case goes to trial.
For more than 50 years, the dedicated attorneys at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey have aggressively defended the rights of Texans who faced criminal charges, including murder, capital murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. Our defense attorneys have the depth of experience to handle any murder case, no matter how complex.
Our firm is a mid-sized firm with big-firm status and legal ability. We have recognition from prestigious organizations, such as Super Lawyers and the Martindale-Hubbell legal directory. Contact us today at (512) 476-4873 or fill out our online form for a free and confidential initial legal consultation about how we may help you.
Why Hire a Lawyer After a Murder Charge?
No one should ever face the harsh Texas justice system without qualified legal representation. Considering the seriousness of a murder charge, it’s crucial to obtain the most experienced criminal defense attorney possible. Texas prosecutors have professional obligations and motivation to seek a guilty verdict in any murder case. If you are the defendant in a murder case, your freedom and future are at stake.
If under arrest and held by police, you should decline to answer police questions until you speak to an attorney. If you are in Austin, Texas, you should contact Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey at (512) 476-4873 at your first opportunity. We strive to respond within the hour.
Why Choose Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. For Your Murder Defense?
As your defense attorneys, Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey will work to ensure your rights are protected throughout your dealings with the criminal justice system.
Our objective is to obtain the best possible outcome available under Texas criminal law for each of our clients. We would first seek to have charges dropped or reduced. In some cases, the best option is for a defendant to plead guilty to reduced charges as part of a plea agreement. It’s a decision that is always our client’s to make.
If a trial is necessary, prosecutors for the State of Texas must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. We will present a solid defense strategy and question the prosecution’s case at every turn. In the event of a guilty verdict, we will promptly review trial records and seek to identify judicial errors that could be the basis for having the verdict overturned. We would explore all avenues for an appeal.
Every defendant facing criminal charges has the right to a robust legal defense. The criminal defense attorneys of Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey have the experience, resources, dedication, and reputation in Travis County courts necessary to defend your rights and seek the best possible outcome in a Texas murder case.
What Are The Types of Murder Charges in Texas?
Texas Penal Code Chapter 19 defines four types of criminal homicide:
- Criminally negligent homicide. A person commits criminally negligent homicide if they cause the death of another person through conduct that creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm. Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony punishable by 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000. A defendant may be sentenced to 2 to 10 years in prison (the punishment for a third-degree felony) if convicted of this offense while using or brandishing a deadly weapon or after a previous felony conviction.
- Manslaughter. A person commits manslaughter if they recklessly cause the death of another person. Manslaughter is a felony of the second degree punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Murder. A person commits murder if they:
- Intentionally or knowingly cause the death of another individual.
- Cause the death of another individual by committing an act clearly dangerous to human life with the intent to cause serious bodily injury.
- Commit or attempt an act clearly dangerous to human life while committing or attempting to commit a felony (other than manslaughter) or while immediately fleeing such a felony or felony attempt.
Murder is a felony of the first degree punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A defendant who successfully argues that their offense was a crime of passion will be sentenced for a second-degree felony, which is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Capital Murder. A person commits capital murder if they:
- Knowingly murder a law enforcement officer or firefighter who is acting in an official capacity.
- Commit murder while committing or attempting: Kidnapping, Burglary, Robbery, Aggravated sexual assault, Arson, Obstruction, Retaliation, and Terroristic threat
- Commit murder for payment or a promise of payment or employ someone to commit murder for payment or the promise of payment.
- Commit murder while escaping or attempting to escape from jail or prison.
- Murder an employee of the jail or prison where they are incarcerated.
- Commit murder while incarcerated for murder or while serving a life sentence or 99 years for committing aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, or aggravated robbery.
- Murder of more than one person while committing a single crime or during multiple crimes linked by the same plan or course of conduct.
- Murder a child.
- Murder someone as retaliation for the victim’s service or status as a judge or justice of the court.
Capital murder is a capital felony punishable by death or life in prison. If the state does not seek the death penalty, a convicted defendant who committed the offense when younger than 18 years old will be sentenced to life in prison. If death is not sought for an adult capital murder defendant, they will be sentenced to life without parole upon conviction.
How a Skilled Murder Defense Lawyer Can Benefit Your Case?
Our murder defense lawyers at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey will analyze the prosecution’s evidence against you and investigate to determine additional facts about your case. There are multiple potential defense strategies to use in a murder case.
Our objective, in order of preference, is to:
- Demonstrate our client’s lack of guilt or that our client committed a justifiable act.
- Demonstrate enough problems with the prosecution’s case to have charges dropped.
- Demonstrate extenuating circumstances that result in charges being reduced.
- Negotiate a plea bargain, in which our client pleads guilty to lesser charges and accepts a lighter sentence than the original charges would have carried. If this opportunity is made available, taking advantage of it is the client’s decision.
- Present a strong and persuasive defense to all charges at trial.
Potential defenses to murder charges include:
- Right of self-defense. Individuals have the right to use deadly physical force to defend themselves against an attack or perceived threat if they truly fear for their lives and act to protect themselves.
- Defense of others. As with self-defense, defending others from harm may be a justifiable reason to use deadly physical force against an attacker.
- Lack of intent. In most cases, the prosecution must prove intent to obtain a murder conviction. Murder charges may be reduced if the prosecutor does not have solid evidence of intent to take a life at the time of the incident in question.
- Duress. A person charged with murder may be found not guilty of an offense if he or she can prove they were compelled to commit the offense due to the threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to themselves or another person.
- Insanity defense. To obtain a conviction, the prosecutor must prove intent or the defendant’s conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result. The insanity defense requires proving that as a result of severe mental disease or defect, the defendant did not know that their conduct was wrong.
- Mistaken identity. Sometimes, witnesses identify the wrong person as the one who committed a crime. DNA evidence or an alibi backed by credible witnesses or other evidence may prove that the defendant is not the person who committed the crime.
- Law enforcement errors or misconduct. Sometimes, law enforcement officials violate a person’s rights or make mistakes that make a conviction untenable. Errors that we would seek to use to our client’s advantage include:
- Illegal arrest
- Illegal search and seizure
- Faulty suspect lineup and/or identification
- Faulty or fabricated evidence, including coached witness testimony
- Faulty forensic testing
- Problems with the chain of custody of alleged murder weapon and/or forensic testing results
- Bias regarding race, ethnicity, immigration status, socio-economic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age
- Other prosecutorial and/or police misconduct.
There are often opportunities to have murder charges reduced or dismissed before a case goes to court. To get a lesser charge or sentence without risking trial in Texas, you need an experienced, local murder defense attorney on your side who is willing to investigate your case, who understands what the law allows, and who has established relationships with prosecutors to be sure that evidence in your favor is duly considered.
Contact an Experienced Austin Murder Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with murder in Texas or know that murder charges are pending, you should engage experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney with Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., can investigate the facts and develop a legal strategy to defend you from murder charges.
Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey has successfully fought for our clients’ rights and freedom since 1963. When you hire an experienced and knowledgeable Austin murder defense attorney from our firm, you will receive quality representation and protection throughout the process.