Murder & Manslaughter

Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney

Murder is the criminal offense of intentionally taking another person's life. Murder offenses are categorized as first, second and third degree. Manslaughter is the also the criminal offense of killing another person, but it is an offense that is categorized as voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person unintentionally takes another person's life due to emotional upset or insanity.

Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person kills another person unintentionally and negligently, such as in the case of intoxicated manslaughter (causing a fatal auto accident while DWI). Murder and manslaughter are typically charged as felony offenses, and these particular crimes carry some of the harshest penalties that a defendant may face. It is crucial to contact a Dallas criminal defense lawyer as soon as you have discovered that you are under investigation or are a suspect in this type of case.

Defining the Different Degrees of Murder

In most states, like Texas, murder is categorized as first, second or third degree. Below is a break-down of each type of murder which details the difference between each offense.

  • First Degree Murder – first degree murder charges are the most serious because when a person commits first degree murder, he/she had "intent to kill" or the murder was "premeditated". When a person commits this type of murder, they will have planned or plotted exactly how they would kill the victim and where the murder would take place.
  • Second Degree Murder – second degree murder is still considered intentional, but without as much planning behind the action. For example, if a person gets into a fight and is carrying a knife and he/she stabs and kills the person he/she is fighting with, it would be classified as second degree murder because there was intention behind the action, but little premeditation.
  • Third Degree Murder – third degree murder charges are the least severe because these murders are not intentional or premeditated. In fact, in most cases, these murders result from negligence. Examples of third degree murder would be vehicular manslaughter or a medical malpractice related death.

After a person has been charged with murder or manslaughter, it is crucial that he/she retain the services of a criminal defense attorney who has extensive trial and jury experience. People who have been charged with murder are facing the most severe legal penalties if they are convicted. For some people, a murder or manslaughter conviction could result in life imprisonment or even the death penalty. When a person's life is at risk, he/she needs to make sure that he/she has the right legal advocate on his/her side. Contact D'Amore Law Firm right away if you need help in your case!