McLennan County Murder Defense Lawyer
There are various forms of homicide. As a board-certified criminal defense lawyer, Thomas C. West is highly experienced in the investigation of Waco homicide cases. Mr. West was a McLennan County prosecutor before becoming a criminal defense attorney. That experience allows him to evaluate the strength of the district attorney’s case and prepare a strong defense. Call Mr. West at 254-753-6437 for a free consultation about your murder accusation.
We handle all types of homicide charges:
• Vehicular manslaughter, which is criminally negligent homicide by careless or negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
• Intoxication manslaughter, which is a killing someone in a car accident while you are legally intoxicated.
Defenses to Murder in Texas
There are several defenses in a murder case:
• Self defense
• The death was caused by reckless or careless behavior, but the elements of murder were not present
• Mistaken identity
• Not guilty due to insanity
If you are accused of murder, you should not talk to anyone other than your lawyer. Police investigators have extensive training in interrogation techniques, and when you are interviewed by them, you are on their turf and in their territory. Only an experienced lawyer can guide you through the process and help you avoid the traps.
The penalty for first-degree murder is not less than 5 years and no more than 99 years of life in state prison. The penalty for manslaughter is 2 to 20 years in prison.
Accused of Capital Murder?
To convict a defendant of capital murder, prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
1. The defendant intentionally and knowingly caused the death of another person;
2. The defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury and committed an act that was clearly dangerous to human life and this act caused the death of an individual; or
3. The defendant committed or attempted to commit a felony (other than manslaughter) and in performing that felony, committed an act that was clearly dangerous to human life and this act caused the death of an individual.
In addition to the above criteria, in order for the charge to be capital murder, as opposed to just “murder” in Texas, one of the following must apply:
1. The victim is a peace officer or fireman who was acting under lawful duty at the time of the crime;
2. The defendant 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;
3. The defendant is paid to commit murder or pays someone else to commit murder;
4. The defendant commits the crime while trying to escape from a penal institution;
5. The defendant murders another person while in jail
6. The defendant murders more than one person
7. The defendant murders a child younger than six years of age
8. The defendant murders someone in retaliation for or on account of the service of a member of the judiciary
Defenses to First Degree Murder charges Lack of intent, Lack of knowledge, Insanity, Self-defense NOTE: If none of the criteria are met for capital murder, the defendant may still be found guilty of a lesser murder charge.
Hire a Waco Murder Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of murder in Waco, you need an aggressive, experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Talk to a board-certified criminal defense lawyer before talking to anyone else. Former Waco prosecutor Thomas C. West is board-certified in criminal law and knows how to spot weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Call him for a free case evaluation at 254-753-6437.