If you spend time driving in Texas, you may benefit from learning more about the state laws regarding vehicular manslaughter. Like many states, Texas has its own unique set of laws for identifying and punishing offenses like manslaughter. Texas doesn’t have laws that specify vehicular manslaughter, but statutes in Section 19.04, Section 545.401, and Section 545.420 do provide state prosecutors with grounds to file charges specifically targeting this type of offense.
Understanding manslaughter in Texas
In Texas, you may be charged with manslaughter, intoxication manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide. Manslaughter occurs when one’s reckless actions cause the death of another person. Intoxication manslaughter occurs when the death is a result of a DUI or some other form of intoxication. Criminally negligent homicide occurs when the death is the result of the actions unknowingly creating an unjustifiable and substantial risk to others. Texas doesn’t differentiate between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
Penalties for manslaughter in Texas
In Texas, manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter are second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony punishable by 180 days to two years in state jail and up to $10,000 in fines. A DUI resulting in the death of an on-duty firefighter, police officer, or EMS personnel, can aggravate the charges to a first-degree felony punishable by five years to life in prison.
Facing manslaughter charges in Texas
If you’ve been charged with vehicular manslaughter in Texas, contact a defense lawyer immediately. Legal counsel may be able to investigate the claims against you in search of exonerating evidence. Lawyers may also be able to negotiate for reduced charges or a more favorable plea bargain.