There’s nothing more heinous and vicious than taking someone’s life. In criminal law, this is homicide. However, even though all homicides are tragic, they’re not treated equally when it comes to charging a criminal.
Some homicides are accidental or due to self-defense, while others are sadly intentional. This clear distinction makes a huge difference when determining the offender’s punishment and sentencing. The treatment of the crime significantly depends on the intent of the accused, and the specific circumstances surrounding it.
Elements of Manslaughter under Texas Criminal Law
The terms voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter are not officially used under Texas criminal laws. Other states categorize manslaughter crimes as either voluntary or involuntary, but Texas combines both in a single manslaughter charge.
This includes more severe punishments based on specific conditions. Note that the laws on juvenile defense may hold, unless the child is certified as an adult, says Dntriallaw.com.
An offender may be convicted with manslaughter if the prosecutors can show that the death of a person was a result of the defendant’s reckless actions. Premeditation—the knowledge or intent to kill—is not required to charge someone with manslaughter. The only consideration is that the defendant acted recklessly, and that the reckless act resulted in the death of another person.
Vehicular and Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas
According to a renowned criminal defense lawyer in Houston, while manslaughter is broadly defined under Texas criminal statues, particular manslaughter types are actually treated differently. Car accidents are a daily occurrence in Texas, and unfortunately, these sometimes result in severe bodily harm or injuries to another individual.
Vehicular manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter are two different crimes. Vehicular manslaughter involves a person’s death due to the defendant’s reckless actions while driving, while intoxication manslaughter involves an individual’s death caused by the perpetrator’s reckless actions while driving under the influence of intoxicating substances such as alcohol or illegal drugs.
A manslaughter conviction in Texas can land you two to 20 years in prison and costly fines not exceeding $10,000, since these are considered second-degree felonies. Additionally, intoxication manslaughter could result in 240 to 800 hours of community service and a minimum sentence, which means you are required to serve prison time for a specific period before being considered for parole.