Murder Charges in San Antonio, Texas

De La Garza Criminal Defense, PLLC Team

Murder charges in San Antonio, Texas are undoubtedly among the most serious and complex legal matters that criminal defense attorneys in San Antonio can handle. There is a lot of emotion and the stakes are high, with potential life-altering consequences for the defendant. This blog will provide a guide for anyone dealing with murder charges in Texas and clarify the differences between capital and regular murder. We will explore the legal framework, key defenses, and real-world cases to shed light on the intricacies of defending against such grave allegations.

Understanding Murder Charges in San Antonio, Texas

Chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code classifies a murder charges as a first-degree felony. First degree felonies carry a range of punishment of five-99 years or life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. The fine does not go to the complainant and prosecutors typically won’t even ask for one.

The wide range of punishment acknowledges the complexity of murder cases. When it comes to sentencing the purpose is to provide a flexible approach to justice. For example, take a mercy killing where a husband suffocates his wife who is dying from cancer. That murder case undeniably deserves a sentence close to the minimum of five years. Contrast that case where someone goes out on Halloween with the intent to cut someone’s head off and is successful. That case certainly deserves a harsher punishment. The reason is because the facts are much more egregious. The wide range of punishment provided for in a murder case allows that wide range of discretion.

A murder charge is easy to confuse with a capital murder charge. The main difference is the latter can result in the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Understanding these distinctions is vital for criminal defense lawyers, allowing them to build effective defense strategies and protect the rights of individuals facing murder charges in San Antonio. It ensures that justice is served by navigating the complexities of the legal landscape.

The Elements of a Murder Charge

  1. Criminal Act: The accused must have committed a criminal act, such as killing another person.
  2. Criminal Intent: The prosecution must prove that the accused acted with the requisite criminal intent, which can be “knowingly” or “intentionally.” “Knowing” refers to the awareness of one’s actions, while “intentional” means that the accused purposefully engaged in the criminal act.
  3. Causation: There must be a direct link between the accused’s actions and the victim’s death.

Murder Charge Defenses in San Antonio, Texas

The primary responsibility as a criminal defense lawyer is to protect their client’s rights and build a strong defense strategy. Below are some common defenses lawyers use in murder cases:

  1. Self-Defense: If your client can establish that they acted in self-defense, it can lead to a favorable outcome. Texas law allows deadly force when a person reasonably believes it’s necessary to protect themselves from imminent danger.
  2. Mistaken Identity: Arguing that your client was not the actual perpetrator of the crime due to mistaken identity can be a potent defense.
  3. Lack of Intent or Knowledge: If the prosecution cannot prove that your client acted knowingly or intentionally, you can argue that the required criminal intent is absent.
  4. Alibi: Presenting an alibi to show that your client was not at the scene of the crime when it occurred can be a compelling defense.
  5. Insanity: If the defendant was not mentally sound at the time of the offense, an insanity defense may be used to argue that they were incapable of forming the requisite intent. Although this defense is very hard to prove it is a viable one that has been used successfully in courtrooms all over Texas. This defense also requires the use of experienced expert mental health professionals. The experts conduct evaluations to determine whether the lawyer should raise the defense.


When defending against murder charges in San Antonio, Texas a deep understanding of the law is required. A strong defense strategy, solid legal research, and a commitment to protecting the client’s rights are overall considerations. Therefore, a strong defense is imperative. The primary objective is to reduce the charges, get a dismissal, or obtain a not-guilty verdict at trial.

If you or someone you know needs a criminal defense attorney in San Antonio, Texas call our office today. Contact De La Garza Criminal Defense at (210) 540-3456 for a free consultation.

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