Fort Worth Manslaughter Defense Lawyer
Involuntary vs. Voluntary
Unlike most other states in the U.S., Texas does not recognize a difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Rather, they lump these crimes together into one singular offense and simply refer to it as "manslaughter." There is a difference between manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter, however, as each is prosecuted separately under the law.
Texas Penal Code § 19.04 states that a person would be guilty of manslaughter if they have recklessly caused the death of another person—regardless of the means in which the killing was carried out. It does not need to be shown that the crime was premeditated or even that the offender had intent to kill.
What Must Be Proven by Prosecution
When examining the burden of proof for intoxicated manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter, however, the prosecution must be able to prove that certain circumstances existed at the time of the killing.
For example, Texas Penal Code § 49.08 states that one would be guilty of intoxication manslaughter if they have accidentally or mistakenly caused the death of another person while drunkenly operating a motor vehicle.
Similarly, the law states that one could be charged with vehicular manslaughter if they have:
- Caused an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drug
- Caused the death of another person while driving with a suspended or invalid license
- Recklessly participated in a drag race or acceleration contest
What are the penalties for manslaughter?
If you have been charged with manslaughter in Texas, you could be facing some severe legal consequences. In most cases, this crime will be prosecuted as a felony in the second degree—which is punishable by 2 to 20 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. The same would apply if you were to be convicted of intoxication manslaughter, so it is highly recommended that you take preventative measures as soon as possible.
Aggressive Criminal Defense in Ft. Worth
Whether you have been charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter or intoxication manslaughter, there is no reason why you should wait any longer to retain the experienced legal representation that you will need. Take the first step today by finding out how The Law Office of Samuel R. Terry can help.