Manslaughter Questions and Answers
Many states have two different forms of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. Texas, however, combines these two charges into one and has enhanced penalties for certain aggravating factors, according to Texas Penal Code § 19.04.
Texas does not differentiate between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter like most other states. However, Texas does provide a separate offense of “intoxication manslaughter” and “vehicular manslaughter” that each comes with its own set of definitions and penalties.
There is no specific statute in Texas law that defines vehicular manslaughter, but a person can still be charged through other statutes. By applying Section 19.04 to a situation involving a vehicle, a person can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner that leads to the death of another individual. The Texas Transportation Code, Section 545.401 also provides the means to charge a person with vehicular manslaughter.
In addition, section 545.420 states that if a person participates in a race, vehicle speed competition or contest, drag race, or other type of acceleration contest and recklessly causes the death of another individual they can also be charged with manslaughter.
Reckless disregard of the safety of others is the omission to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the lack of the usual and ordinary care and caution in the performance of an act usually and ordinarily exercised by a person under similar circumstances and conditions.
Under Texas law, criminally negligent homicide is said to occur when an individual causes the death of another person through criminal negligence. An action constitutes “criminal negligence” when an individual should have known that their conduct poses a significant and justifiable risk of causing the death of another person.
In this case, the accused killed another person because the victim had a legitimate belief that they must be killed for personal reasons. The jury’s findings of inequity resulted in an arbitrary change of charges from murder to voluntary manslaughter.
If you have been accused of manslaughter in Texas, it is important that you seek legal representation as soon as possible. Here are some steps you can take to hire an attorney:
Research potential attorneys: Look for attorneys who have experience in criminal defense and specifically in defending against manslaughter charges. You can ask for recommendations from friends, family, or other legal professionals, or you can search online directories or review websites.
Schedule consultations: Most attorneys offer free initial consultations, so you can meet with several attorneys to discuss your case and get a sense of their experience and approach. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for the attorney’s style and personality.
Consider the attorney’s qualifications and experience: Look for an attorney who has a strong track record of success in criminal defense cases and who is familiar with the laws and procedures in Texas. You should also consider the attorney’s reputation and whether they have any disciplinary actions on their record.
Evaluate the attorney’s fees: Attorneys typically charge for their services on an hourly basis or through a flat fee. Be sure to ask about the attorney’s fees and any other costs you may incur during the legal process.
Choose an attorney: After considering all of these factors, choose an attorney who you feel comfortable working with and who you believe will be able to effectively represent you in your case.
It is important to note that this is general legal information and is not intended as legal advice for any specific situation. If you are facing criminal charges, it is essential that you seek the advice of a qualified criminal defense attorney.
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