What Is Considered Manslaughter?
A defendant in Fort Worth, Texas may face manslaughter charges if he or she is accused of recklessly causing the death of another person. As opposed to murder, which involves intent and may involve malice aforethought or premeditation, manslaughter may involve an accidental death. An example may be a driver who is racing through the streets and causes the death of a pedestrian.
Have you been accused of manslaughter? Take this opportunity to talk to an experienced attorney who can help you challenge these charges. A lawyer at Alband, Lane & Balderama can offer you unique experience as a former prosecutor in order to present a stronger and more effective case on your behalf.
Texas Manslaughter Laws
Manslaughter is a type of criminal homicide that is defined as recklessly causing the death of an individual. For a person to be or act recklessly, they are aware of but consciously disregard a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist, or the result will occur. The risk must be such that its disregard is a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under the same circumstances.
Unlike many states, Texas does not differentiate between involuntary and voluntary manslaughter. The crime is committed if a person ignores the risks associated with their actions and acts recklessly anyway. Examples of manslaughter in Texas include:
- Someone kills another “in the heat of the moment” after several racist and insensitive remarks about their family were spoken.
- All but one person in a group of teens have trespassed into another person’s property. They peer pressure the last remaining friend into doing the same, and when the friend decides to jump the fence, they fall and die from neck injuries.
- A person knows they have a broken transmission but delays fixing it because of their busy work schedule. Later, their friend borrows their car and gets into a serious car accident on the freeway because the transmission failed. As a result, the friend dies.
- A person sees his girlfriend at a bar dancing with another man and beats the man to death as a result of his anger.
- Two friends drink a little too much and get into a physical fight at a restaurant. One punches the other in the head before getting restrained by security guards. The victim later dies from head injuries.
All of these examples demonstrate that intent, premeditation and malice aforethought does not need to exist for manslaughter to occur. Manslaughter can result in death due to recklessness and recklessness alone.
Penalties for Manslaughter
Manslaughter is classified as a felony of the second degree under Penal Code Section 19.04. The maximum penalty for this type of felony offense is up to 20 years in state prison and a fine of $10,000. The specific penalties that a defendant faces may vary depending on the unique circumstances of the case.
It is important to remember, no matter what the police may have told you, that you have the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. Take advantage of these rights and request to contact an attorney. Make sure your attorney is present during any and all questioning. You cannot afford to allow law enforcement to violate your constitutional rights in any way whatsoever.
With more than 100 jury trials under his belt, our founding attorney has the experience you should look for in your legal representation. Our firm stands ready to fight on your behalf to help you avoid spending the next years of your life behind bars.
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