Murder charges are among the most severe someone in Texas can face. Murder convictions carry some of the heaviest legal and social consequences—far beyond those faced by individuals convicted of fraud, assault, DWI, or drug charges.
However, proving a murder charge can be somewhat difficult as well. It should be challenging for the prosecution to prove due to the substantial repercussions a conviction carries. As such, a seasoned local Fort Worth criminal defense attorney can employ a wide range of strategies when defending clients against murder charges in Texas. Suppose you are being accused of or charged with murder. In that case, you will absolutely need an aggressive and experienced Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer on your side.
Potential Texas Murder Defenses
Two broad categories exist for murder defenses:
- The defense attorney could attempt to establish that the prosecution has charged the wrong person.
- The defense attorney admits that the accused murderer did indeed kill the victim but did so in a way that was entirely justified.
Either category of murder defenses can be successful, depending on the victim’s death and the trial circumstances.
Self Defense or Defense of Others
In Texas, self-defense is an appropriate defense when the accused individual uses force against the victim because they believed it was immediately necessary to protect themselves or someone else against the victim’s use or attempted use of illegal force.
However, establishing self-defense/defense of others can often be tricky. Those facing criminal charges can only claim self-defense if they:
- Only used the minimum amount of force needed for self-defense or in defense of someone else
- Reasonably believed that force was needed to stop another party’s use of unlawful force,
- Didn’t provoke the attack
- Weren’t engaged in a crime at the time
The insanity defense is not as common or easy to effect as it often appears for entertainment purposes. It has very specific requirements and implications. Competency refers to a defendant’s ability to stand trial. Under chapter 46B of the Code of Criminal Procedure, someone is incompetent and therefore unable to stand trial when:
- They don’t have the ability to converse with a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney with a degree of rational understanding, or
- They don’t have a rational and factual understanding of the criminal proceedings against them
Like most other American jurisdictions, Texas law assumes that a criminal defendant is sane and that they anticipate the natural consequences of their actions. A defendant is excused from criminal responsibility if they can prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, the affirmative defense of insanity.
A successful insanity defense will excuse the accused from criminal responsibility even if the State has proven every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Pleading insanity will only be successful if the accused’s Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer can establish that at the time they committed the crime, they didn’t know that their conduct was wrong or illegal due to a severe mental defect or disease.
An alibi defense is based on information that an accused person wasn’t physically present at the scene of the crime at the time the crime occurred. They were somewhere else and couldn’t be the person who committed the murder. The Fort Worth federal defense lawyer should have witnesses testify and present evidence at trial to support such a defense. An alibi is typically more convincing if:
- Parties who didn’t previously know the accused can testify regarding their whereabouts when the murder occurred
- Video or other evidence puts the accused in another location when the crime was committed
- Multiple parties can testify as to the accused’s whereabouts at the time of the murder
When it comes to criminal charges, the State, usually through the prosecutor with (district attorney), needs to prove the defendant’s guilt. To do this, they must have sufficient evidence to prove to a jury that they are charging the right person.
A prosecutor might drop a murder charge if it’s determined that the evidence against the accused isn’t strong enough. It might also be dropped if new evidence is found undercutting the prosecution’s case against the defendant.
The accused’s Fort Worth criminal defense attorney might be able to prevent charges from being filed. They can meet with the district attorney when they initially review police reports to argue that there’s no basis for bringing a formal charge due to insufficient evidence.
Contact the Best Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyers for Help Today
Murder charges are the most serious criminal charges that can be brought against someone in Texas. A conviction could mean life in prison without parole or even the death penalty. Without a well-versed Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer, you may not have the right defense strategy for your case. For the best outcome possible, you need to hire an attorney from Cofer Luster Law Firm to represent you. Contact us online or call 682-777-3336 to schedule a meeting with one of our experienced defense lawyers.