What Am I Facing If I Am Charged With Murder?


In Texas, Murder is one of the most serious criminal offenses an accused can face. In other states in the US, what is termed plainly as murder in Texas is often categorized as second degree murder.

Range of Punishment for Murder

In Texas, Murder is a first degree felony that has a range of punishment; from 5 to 99 years imprisonment in a state prison and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000. Anyone facing such a charge must hire a very good attorney who is experienced in the defense of such a serious charge.

Elements State Must Prove for Murder Conviction

For the prosecution to successfully convict a defendant of murder, it must be able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt several factors. The prosecution must prove that the defendant knowingly and intentionally caused the death of another person. Alternatively the prosecution must also show that the defendant did intend to cause serious bodily harm or injury and proceeded to commit an act that was by and large clearly dangerous to human life and this particular act ultimately caused the death of an individual.

Another option for the prosecution is; to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the defendant either committed or attempted to commit a felony other than manslaughter and while performing the said felony; the defendant committed an act that was without doubt dangerous to human life and this particular act caused the death of a person. It is worth noting that the prosecution needs only to prove one of the above options, but the key point in all the available options for the prosecution is that the murder has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Possible Defenses to Murder Charges in Texas

In Texas, just like in most states in the US, a defendant has a right to full representation by a qualified attorney. There are also a wide range of defenses he or she can pursue in an attempt to prove his or her innocence. An accused person can claim that the death of the person in question was not intended and was either accidental or caused by natural or unforeseen occurrences; lack of intent is an acceptable defense in Texas law.

One of the most utilized defenses is self defense; a defendant may be acquitted if he can prove that he had reason to believe his life was in danger and he thus needed to defend himself.

Another interesting defense may be the heat of passion argument. The defendant may claim that he was provoked to commit the said crime by some extreme emotion like terror, fear or rage arising from a valid cause. If it is found that the defendant was truly in the heat of passion, he may be charged with lesser included offenses like second degree felony which carries a sentence of between 2 and 20 years in a state prison and /or a fine of no more than $10,000.

It is worth noting also that the laws in Texas are constantly being changed and improved, it is important that you engage a licensed and practicing attorney to advise you accordingly.

Mario Madrid is a Texas Board Certified Attorney in Criminal Defense and has successfully defended individuals who have found themselves in the unfortunate situation of being charged with Murder. He practices in Harris County and counties throughout Texas.

Three Teens Charged with Capital Murder in Death of Teen

Criminal Sentencing/Punishments | Juvenile Crimes | Murder | Violent Crimes

Three teens in Harris County have been charged with Capital Murder in the death of another teen. According to this story, the victim was in the car with another male after buying Air Jordan shoes when an armed individual got out of a car and demanded the shoes. The victim was then shot by another individual. After being shot, the victim tried to drive away but crashed into two houses. The victim later died.

A Review of Capital Murder Charges

In Texas, under Texas Penal Code §19.03, one of the ways a Capital Murder may be committed is if a person commits murder and intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit robbery.

In addition, under Texas Penal Code §7.02, an individual can be criminally responsible for the acts committed by another person. Texas Penal Code §7.02(a)(2) explains that this is possible when an individual solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense if the individual is acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense.

An individual can also be criminally responsible for the acts committed by another person if, as stated in §7.02(b), in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators and the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy. This is true even if the individual being held criminally responsible had no intent to commit the additional felony.

The individuals in this case are charged with Capital Murder, which carries the punishment of the death penalty or life in prison. According to the United States Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons and Texas Penal Code §8.07(c), if one of the defendants was under the age of 18 at the time of the incident, the defendant would not be eligible to receive a death sentence.

However, the teens charged in this case are 18 and 19 years old. Therefore, they are all eligible to receive the death penalty.

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense in Houston, contact Madrid Law, PLLC as soon as possible for review of your cases by a Board Certified criminal defense attorney.

Houston Man and Son Charged With Murder


A Houston man and his son were charged with the murder of a 17 year old teenager in Katy. The man is 45 years old and his son is 18 years old. A third man was charged with tampering with evidence.

The victim had a dispute with a group of people earlier that day. The group of people were driving a Jeep Cherokee. Later someone from the Jeep fired several rounds using a rifle. The victim who was in another vehicle was shot and killed. You can read more about the case in this story.

Murder is a First Degree Felony. First Degree Felonies are punishable from 5 years to 99 years or life in prison and a possible fine up to $10,000.

I am not privy to anymore of details to this case, other than what has been reported in the local paper. Under Texas law one cannot shoot and kill someone just because of an argument.

The Texas Penal Code is clear in Section 931  (b)The use of force against another is not justified:
(1)  in response to verbal provocation alone; However, the affirmative defense of self defense can be used in cases where force is used.

However, a person is justified in using force against
another when and to the degree he reasonably believes the force is
immediately necessary to protect himself against the others use or
attempted use of unlawful force.

Again, I am not sure of the details in the case discussed above, but it would appear there may be more to the case than has been published. Other questions that may arise would likely be who the shooter was and why were two people charged. Was the other person charger the driver of the Jeep and if they were,  did they even know that the shooter was planning to commit this murder, if it was in fact a murder. Criminal cases are rarely cut an dry. There are always different perceptions of reality.

If you are someone you know has found themselves in the unfortunate position of being charged murder and find themselves needing a Murder Attorney in Houston, call Texas Board Certified Attorney Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

Houston Area Teenager Found Guilty of Murder


A 19 year old teenager has been found guilty of Murder by a Harris Count jury according to this story. The victim was a 17 year old female friend of the defendant. According to the prosecution the defendant killed the victim to keep her quiet about a drive by shooting. The prosecution presented evidence that the defendant, at the request of the victim, had shot at the victim’s ex-boyfriend’s house.

The defendant was set to enter the military. The defendant had heard that the victim was telling other people about the drive-by shooting. The defendant was concerned that the victim was jeopardizing his chance at getting into the military. According to the state, the defendant lured the victim to the woods by telling her that he had hidden some valuables and needed to dig them up. While beginning to dig, the defendant shot the victim in the back of the head, killing her.The state had a star witness who testified that he was present and saw the defendant commit the murder.

The punishment phase of trial will begin and conclude with the jury picking the defendant’s punishment. Murder is a First Degree Felony with a range of punishment of 5 to 99 years in the Texas Department of Corrections.

There is no possibility of a probation for a person convicted of Murder by a jury in Texas. The death penalty is not an option for murder. The punishment of death is only available for Capital Murder cases in Texas. One possible avenue to charge a defendant with Capital Murder under these facts would be to allege that the defendant committed the murder in the course of committing the felony of Retaliation. Texas Penal Code Section 19.03(2) provides Capital Murder occurs when the person intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat under Section 22.07(a)(1), (3), (4), (5), or (6). Based on the facts of the case and their evaluation the Harris County District Attorney’s Office concluded that the proper charge should be Murder.

If you or someone you know is in need of Murder Attorney in Houston, call Houston Criminal Lawyer Mario Madrid at 73-877-9400.

Houston Man Charged With Murder In Connection With DWI Accident

DWI | Murder | Violent Crimes

A Houston Man has been charged with Murder after drunken driving crash in Houston that killed a woman’s unborn child according to this story. The man three prior DWI offenses. Additionally, he was convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide and sentenced to 2 years in prison in a 2000 accident that also resulted in a child’s death.

The prior DWI conviction cases make the current case a Felony. The death of the unborn child coupled with the Felony DWI make the case what is called a Felony Murder. Man charged with murder in south Houston drunken driving death of unborn child

A Felony Murder is occurs when an individual 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.

An offense of Felony Murder is a felony of the first degree punishable from 5 to 99 years in prison.

If you or someone you know is need of a Houston DWI Attorney or Houston Murder Lawyer, call Texas Board Certified Attorney Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

Four Teens Charged In Houston Capital Murder


Four Houston teen, two fifteen years old boys and two seventeen year old boys have been charged with Capital Murder, according to this story. The defendants are accused of shooting and stabbing a man in a carjacking attempt. The man was pulling into his apartments with his family in his car, when he was confronted by the teens. A brief struggle ensued and the man was shot and stabbed. He died from his wounds.

A backpack with no money and two cell phones were taken. One of the teens was later stopped in a suspected stolen vehicle. The teen was placed in a police car with another person and apologized to a friend in the car. A recording device had been activated in the backseat which recorded the conversation. This led to questioning from the police that led to the arrest of the defendants.

Although charged with Capital Murder the State cannot seek the death penalty of the teenagers. In Texas 17 years old is considered the age of an adult for criminal prosecution. However, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that a 17 years old is considered a juvenile and the death penalty punishment for a juvenile is unconstitutionally cruel under the Eighth Amendment. The Supreme Court has ruled that “when a juvenile commits a heinous crime, the State can exact forfeiture of some of the most basic liberties, but the State cannot extinguish his life and his potential to attain a mature understanding of his own humanity.” Under Texas law the teens, if convicted would face life in prison without parole.

If you or someone you know is need of a Houston Murder Lawyer, call Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.