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Homicide/Murder & Manslaughter

Houston Murder Defense Lawyer

Experienced Criminal Attorney — R. Todd Bennett

People looking for a criminal lawyer after being charged with murder or other homicide offense are often in their darkest hours. They are scared, vulnerable and desperate to protect their reputations and freedom. They are often afraid of the stigma of a "murderer" — regardless of whether they did or didn't do what the prosecutor is alleging.

I am R. Todd Bennett, an experienced and straightforward Houston murder defense attorney. I am Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and I have received numerous recognitions over the years for my hard work and success in criminal cases. I understand that my clients' lives are on the line, and I am dedicated to doing everything I can to protect them.

I recognize that contrary to what many believe, many people who are charged with murder have never been in trouble with the law before. They have homes, jobs, families and reputations to protect. They may have just been in bad situations that suddenly turned worse and one of the people involved ended up dead. Once arrested for murder, these individuals are confused and alarmed and have many questions about what to expect in their cases. I help clients understand the charges against them, investigate the alleged incident and go to work, fiercely protecting their rights and developing a defense strategy.

Houston and Angleton Homicide Attorney

Homicide is the general term used by the Texas statutes to define any form of unlawful killing. The classification of the homicide charge, and the resulting consequences of conviction, will depend on the nature of the crime:

  • Murder: According to statute, a person can be charged with murder if he or she intentionally or knowingly caused the death of another, or intended to cause serious bodily injury to another and that act resulted in the person's death. Therefore, even if you were only trying to hurt someone in a bar fight, for example, if that person died as a result, you can still be charged with murder — a first-degree felony.
  • Manslaughter: A person can be charged with manslaughter (sometimes called involuntary manslaughter) for recklessly causing the death of another. Although the act may not have been intentional, it is still a second-degree felony, which can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
  • Criminally negligent homicide: There are situations where an individual's criminal actions cause the death of another. While the death was not intentional, the individual's actions were voluntary. Therefore, if an individual is criminally negligent and his or her negligence results in the death of another person, he or she can be charged with criminally negligent homicide — a fourth-degree felony that can result in a maximum of two years in a state jail (not a state prison).
  • Intoxication manslaughter: Driving while intoxicated and thereby causing the death of another person can be charged as intoxication manslaughter (sometimes called vehicular manslaughter). These cases can result in a range of penalties, from two years in a state prison to 20 years in a state prison. If probation is issued, a judge is required to impose a condition of probation that the individual serve at least 120 to 180 days in the county jail.

Protecting Clients Facing Homicide Charges

Homicide cases are among the most serious criminal cases a lawyer can represent a client in. Cases may involve a significant amount of evidence. Homicide cases take a lot of hard work and dedication. I identify the issues and evaluate defense strategies. I work to build a case that demonstrates that you didn't do it, that you reacted in self-defense, or present other defense strategy. In other situations, I develop a defense strategy based on the fact that although you may have done what was alleged, it is being overcharged by the prosecutors. For example, a case that should have only been charged as criminally negligent homicide is being charged as first-degree murder.

I have significant experience in getting charges or penalties reduced and in obtaining not-guilty verdicts for clients in Texas.

Attorney Consultation

If you have been charged with murder or other homicide charge, contact me, Houston criminal defense lawyer R. Todd Bennett, for a initial consultation about your case.