Sudden Passion Murder

In certain circumstances, it may be possible to lessen the severity of a murder conviction. The law has long recognized that intensely emotional situations may lead to immediate irrational behavior. While this behavior cannot be excused entirely, a finding of sudden passion can lead to more lenient punishment. Sudden Passion It is important to note that sudden passion is not a defense to a murder charge. In fact, the discussion of whether sudden passion existed is not brought up until after the defendant is convicted. Under Texas law, during the punishment stage of the trial, the defendant may introduce evidence that the death was caused under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause. If this is proven by a preponderance of evidence, the murder is a second-degree, rather than a first-degree felony. The difference is significant as a first-degree murder is punishable by a mandatory minimum […]