Homicide Cases FAQ

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If someone died, is it automatically a homicide?

No. A homicide exists only where there is reason to believe that a person, other than the deceased, is responsible in some way for the death. If a death has occurred, there will almost certainly be an investigation, the depth of which will depend on the degree to which the police or prosecutors suspect another to be responsible for the death.

Am I going to prison?

It depends. To put it plainly: punishment is typically a function of culpability; sliding on a scale ranging from an intentional killing, to reckless, to a fluke accident.

What is the worst possible outcome for me?

Prison. There are no longer homicide cases in Texas that are defined as misdemeanors. If someone has died, and you have been charged, Prison in on the table. Whether or not that happens is a whole other story.

Can a homicide case be dismissed?

Yes. Homicide cases can be dismissed just like any other charge. As a Prosecutor, Kyle Watkins dismissed many homicide cases. It is much more infrequent for a homicide case to be dismissed than other cases, but it does happen.

Can I get probation in a homicide case?

Yes. Depending on the type of charge, probation may only be available from the Jury and not the Judge. Also, the criminal history of the Citizen accused of the crime plays a role in probation eligibility and the odds of getting probation.

I plan to plead guilty. Do I need to hire a lawyer?

Yes. Hiring the best lawyer you can find can have a great impact on the sentence you agree to, even if you intend to plead guilty.

How does ‘Self-Defense’ apply?

Self-Defense is a complicated area of the law. To oversimplify it: a killing may be justified if the actor believed deadly force was immediately necessary. There are many more factors that go into it, and this type of fact specific inquiry is one that will have to be addressed with an experienced attorney.

Am I going to get sued civilly?

It is likely, especially if there are any parties with money that the Complainant’s attorney can bring into the suit (eg: insurance companies, businesses, etc.)

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