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Defenses for first-degree murder in Texas

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

In any criminal trial in Texas, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This is a bedrock principle of the U.S. justice system, so if you are facing charges for first-degree murder, you should know the defenses available to you. Here are four possible defenses to these charges.

Insanity

If your attorney can prove that you were legally insane at the time of the crime, you may be able to avoid conviction for violent crimes. To prove insanity, you need to meet two key criteria: You must have been diagnosed with a mental illness by a qualified professional, and you must have been unable to understand the nature of your actions or control your behavior.

Self-defense

If you can prove to Texas courts that you were acting in self-defense when you committed a crime, you have a better chance of minimizing the penalties or even being acquitted of the crime. The state’s “stand your ground” law allows you to confront any threats you face with reasonable force instead of retreating or avoiding danger.

Defense of property

You can use this defense if you can prove to the court that you were protecting your property from damage or harm when you committed the crime. If the judge believes that your actions were necessary, they may allow this defense to hold.

Defense of others

You can use the defense of others as a legal defense if you can prove that you were protecting another person from harm when you committed the crime. The judge could allow this defense if:

  • The person you aided could have had a legitimate claim for self-defense.
  • The perceived threat of harm or death was reasonable.
  • Your use of force was timely and proportional to the type of threat the person faced.

First-degree murder is the most serious crime in Texas. Since Texas allows capital punishment, you could receive a death penalty or life sentence without parole if found guilty. If any of the above defenses are applicable to your case, proving it to the court may allow you to avoid such harsh penalties.