Manslaughter charges apply when someone dies, but the crime was not premeditated or borne of malice. In fact, manslaughter charges generally relate to negligence or recklessness – rather than with the forethought and intention of murder. If you are facing a manslaughter charge, you should not put off consulting with an experienced Round Rock criminal attorney.
In Texas, if a driver’s negligence (or any other action that constitutes a substantial and unjustifiable risk to others) leaves someone else on the road dead, the negligent driver can face a vehicular manslaughter charge, which is called simply manslaughter in the State of Texas. The dangerous forms of negligence that are commonly associated with manslaughter charges include:
- Distraction (Texting is especially deadly)
- Excess speed
Drivers understand that these forms of negligence jeopardize the lives of others on the road, and if the motorist’s negligence reaches the level of a substantial and unjustifiable risk to others and leads to the death of someone else on the road, he or she can face manslaughter charges. Further, the victim does not have to die immediately for the charge of manslaughter to apply. If the accident victim succumbs to his or her injuries at a later date, the manslaughter charge can be levied at that time. A manslaughter charge is a second-degree felony, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Criminally Negligent Manslaughter
The crime of criminally negligent manslaughter is a slightly less serious charge. The difference between manslaughter and criminally negligent manslaughter is that the motorist facing the criminally negligent charge – rather than recognizing the danger his or her driving practices pose to others – fails to recognize the danger involved. This lack of knowledge can obviously be a tough position to prove, but the charge is a state jail felony that carries a sentence of from 6 months to 2 years behind bars and fines of up to $10,000.
If the negligent driver in question is intoxicated by either alcohol and/or drugs at the time that the accident takes place, the charge snaps right back up to a second-degree felony. Such a charge can be brought against someone who is determined to have been operating any of the following types of machines while intoxicated (if it leads to the death of someone else):
- A car or other vehicle
- An airplane
- A boat
- An amusement park ride (or during the assembly of an amusement park ride)
You Need an Experienced Round Rock Criminal Attorney in Your Corner
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Round Rock, Texas, is a dedicated criminal attorney who dedicates his impressive practice to guiding the cases of clients like you toward optimal outcomes. We are here for you, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information about how we can help you today.