Crimes of Violence Criminal Defense Attorneys, Austin TX

Assaultive offenses generally include assault, battery, domestic (or family) violence, aggravated assault, and homicide. These are very serious criminal charges. If you are charged or arrested for manslaughter you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers at Gunter, Bennett & Anthes are well-versed in assaultive offenses. Please note that the criminal laws in Texas involve a separate process when a juvenile is charged with a crime.

Homicide: Manslaughter

Of course, the highest level of assaultive offenses is homicide which includes manslaughter. These are very serious crimes. Generally, murder is where someone knowingly or intentionally causes the death of a person. Manslaughter is charged when a person recklessly causes the death of another person.

Punishment for Manslaughter

Manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. If a deadly weapon is involved this can signifiantly impact the sentence. If your case is dismissed, it is probably eligible to be expunged from your criminal record. We always encourage our clients to pursue an expunction if they are eligible. An expunction allows you to legally deny that you were ever charged or arrested for a crime. It is a very worthwhile procedure and one that we can help you with.

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.

Involuntary Manslaughter

In Texas, involuntary manslaughter is defined as causing the death of another person without intent to do so, but as the result of recklessness or criminal negligence.

There are two types of involuntary manslaughter in Texas:

  1. Manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony and carries a punishment of 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  2. Criminally negligent homicide, which is a state jail felony and carries a punishment of 180 days to 2 years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Criminally negligent homicide is defined as causing the death of another person through criminal negligence. Criminal negligence is defined as an act or failure to act that demonstrates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death or serious bodily injury and that the person committing the act or failing to act was aware of and disregarded that risk.

Manslaughter, on the other hand, is defined as recklessly causing the death of another person. Recklessness is defined as the conscious disregard for the risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person.

So, the difference between the two is that manslaughter requires an intentional disregard of a known risk, while criminally negligent homicide only requires a failure to perceive a known risk.

However, this is just a general overview and the precise legal definition of the crime and the laws surrounding it may vary from state to state. it is always recommended to seek a legal counsel if you are facing this kind of situation.

Vehicular manslaughter charges in Texas.

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.

Intoxication Manslaughter

Committing vehicular manslaughter while drunk — called Intoxication Manslaughter in the Texas Penal Code (TPC) — carries a minimum second-degree felony charge.

Upon conviction for a second-degree felony, you face a prison sentence of 2 to 20 years.

You could face a longer prison sentence if any of the following factors apply to your offense:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tested at 0.15 or above
  • You have prior DWI convictions
  • You have prior Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter convictions
  • The victim was a police officer, firefighter, or another type of first responder
  • You had a minor child (under age 15) in the vehicle
  • You had an open alcohol container in the vehicle

Killing a first responder in a DWI accident will garner first-degree felony charges. You could face life in prison if convicted.

Reckless disregard for 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.

Unlawful Killing

In Texas, the term “unlawful killing” is generally used to refer to the crime of murder, which is defined as intentionally causing the death of another person.

Murder is considered a first-degree felony in Texas, and carries a punishment of five to 99 years in prison, or life in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.

Additionally, there are different types of murder charges, such as capital murder, which is punishable by death, and murder in the course of committing certain felonies like robbery or kidnapping.

A person can also be charged with manslaughter if the death was unintended but caused by criminal negligence.

It’s important to note that the exact details of the laws surrounding murder and manslaughter can vary from state to state. If you are facing these charges, it is important to speak with a criminal defense attorney with experience in the jurisdiction where you are facing charges. They will be able to explain the specific laws and charges you are facing, and will be able to help you understand your rights and options.

What to do when accused of 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

The lawyers at Gunter, Bennett and Anthes are well versed
in violent offenses and are poised to help you

At Gunter, Bennett and Anthes, phone calls are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.Criminal defense is never a nine-to-five job; we’re here when you need us.

Chris Gunter - Austin Defense Attorney

Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Alan Bennett – Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Gene Anthes – Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Thomas Just - Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Gary Cohen - Dedicated Texas Parole Representation

Dedicated Texas Parole Representation

Paralegal, Austin, TX

Paralegal, Austin, TX

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