Generally speaking, the average citizen is not well in the law. That’s why when it’s time to make really tough decisions about choices involving the law, a lawyer is the best way to navigate through whatever legal arises.
In cases that are literally life and death, people make choices they probably would not make if they had not been under duress, as a Houston man found out.
According to local Houston news, a man shot another, mortally wounding him before fleeing the scene. He eventually came back to the scene and turned himself over to police.
Was that a wise decision?
If you have police looking for you as a suspect in a crime, what is the best course of action?
Should you get an attorney or turn yourself in – even when facing serious charges such as murder?
Should You Turn Yourself into Texas Police?
When you have a warrant out for your arrest, even one issued in a different jurisdiction, then you can be picked up at any time. However, it often takes some time before the police show up at your place of business or home to arrest you, and that may offer the opportunity to consider your options.
If you understand that serious criminal charges are pending against you — like murder — then it’s a good idea to secure an experienced defense attorney before you make a move involving law enforcement.
Most of the time, even with very serious charges pending, retaining an attorney first will allow you to negotiate your surrender on terms favorable to you such as where you are booked and processed, when you’re arraigned, and when you can be released on bail.
Often, that can all be done on the same day with an attorney’s help, depending on the charges.
It’s important to keep in mind that turning yourself in is the right thing to do and may reflect well on you in front of the judge. However, getting the advice of a legal professional beforehand is always going to be in your best interest.
Murder Laws and Penalties in Texas
When you’re facing a charge as serious as murder in Texas, then it’s important to secure a lawyer to help you navigate what can be a daunting legal process.
Murder can be defined in a variety of ways under Texas law. In fact, the law in this state says that a person can be charged with murder if they:
- Commit a dangerous act that results in the death of another
- Causes death to someone else
- Intentionally seeks to cause bodily harm to someone else
In general, these charges all under the umbrella of criminal homicide. This includes manslaughter and criminal negligence. However, if you are charged with homicide, then there are several degrees of murder that can be charged as well.
Most murder crimes fall under first- and second-degree murder. A conviction can mean decades in prison and thousands of dollars owed in fines.
First-Degree Murder – Premeditated
First-degree murder is often charged when the crime is planned. A person convicted of first-degree murder can face up to 99 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Second-Degree Murder — Crime of Passion
Second-degree murder differs from first-degree murder in that it’s not planned but something that is generally seen as a crime of passion.
It still results in the death of another person but isn’t required to be a planned crime. The penalties for second-degree murder are up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
If you’re accused of murder, understand your rights to ensure you get fair treatment by law enforcement. While turning yourself in typically garners some level of favor among the court and prosecution team, it is still advisable you retain legal representation first.