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Odds are, you’ve heard similar terminology on TV and in books, but is a ‘crime of passion’ a legitimate legal defense? In Texas, it doesn’t stand, but sudden passion can make a significant difference in the outcome of a case. Here, the firm will outline the differences between sudden passion and crimes of passion.

Sudden Passion vs. Crimes of Passion

In the strictest sense, a crime of passion—the defense of a murder or manslaughter case based on the perpetrator’s love or anger—hasn’t been recognized by Texas courts for some time. There’s no greater chance of an acquittal than there is in cases starting under ordinary circumstances.

However, the state does allow ‘sudden passion’ as a mitigating factor that a Houston criminal lawyer can use to lessen a client’s charges or sentence. Penal Code Ch. 19 defines sudden passion as anger arising at the time of the event and not from previous provocation.

Just Cause

Texas codes also use the term ‘adequate cause’ to determine whether an offense is a crime of passion. Here, adequate cause is anything that would produce enough resentment, rage, or anger in an ordinary person, rendering them incapable of rational thought. It’s sometimes known as sufficient provocation. It doesn’t excuse murder or manslaughter, but it may help reduce charges or penalties.

Crimes of Passion in Texas

The ‘crime of passion’ defense is typically used in murder and manslaughter cases, but it can also apply in cases involving negligent homicide, intoxication manslaughter, and capital murder. A Houston criminal lawyer and their client may raise the issue as to whether the death was caused under the influence of passion stemming from a just cause. While these cases still end in felony charges, it’s much better than facing life in prison. Visit the Law Office of Jesse Hernandez online at or call to schedule a consultation.