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Capital Felonies in the State of Texas

A capital felony, as defined by the Texas Penal Code §12.31, is a criminal offense in which an individual intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another, under special circumstances. The state may or may not seek the death penalty for a capital felony. If the state seeks the death penalty for the crime, the punishment for a conviction is either death by lethal injection or imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life without parole. If the state does not seek the death penalty, then the punishment for a conviction is imprisonment for life if the individual was under the age of 18 at the time of committing the offense. Otherwise, the punishment is imprisonment for life without parole. A capital felony is the most serious crime that exists under Texas law.

Examples of Capital Felonies

All capital felonies involve some type of intentional murder. Some common examples of capital felony offenses include the following:

  • Murder of a police officer, firefighter, correctional officer, judge, or prison guard;
  • Murder of more than one person at once or during the same course of conduct;
  • Murder of a person during the commission of a specified felony, such as:
    • Kidnapping;
    • Burglary;
    • Aggravated sexual assault; or
    • Arson;
  • Murder for pay, or paying someone to commit murder;
  • Aggravated sexual assault;
  • Murder of a child of specified ages;
  • Murder during a prison escape; and
  • Murder by a state prison inmate who is serving a life sentence for certain crimes.

Texas law is very specific about which offenses are classified as capital felonies. All other felony offenses, depending on their severity, are categorized under Texas law in varying degrees, ranging from first degree, which is the most serious, to fourth degree, which is the least serious.

Contact a Texas Felony Lawyer Today

Any felony offense can have very serious consequences, but a capital felony can result in life imprisonment or death. With these penalties at stake, you cannot afford to go without a seasoned Texas capital felony lawyer on your side to mount a strong defense on your behalf. As a result, you must consult an experienced Houston capital felony lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. Call our office today and set up a consultation about your criminal charges, and discover what options are available to you. The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates handles all types of felony charges under Texas law in Harris County, Montgomery County, Galveston County, and the surrounding areas.