When a preventable, non-intentional homicide occurs, and it’s found to be a result of recklessness, as opposed to malice, criminal charges of “Manslaughter” or “Criminally Negligent Homicide” may apply.
If found guilty in the court of law, a person can be sentenced to up to 20 years for Manslaughter in Texas, and up to 2 years if convicted of Criminal Negligent Homicide.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
Although criminal charges involving the death of another human being are very serious, it doesn’t mean that you should be convicted without a fair trial, that your own rights don’t matter, and it certainly shouldn’t imply guilt.
Houston Criminal-Defense Attorneys Mark & Jennifer Bennett, our legal team, are diligent criminal-defense lawyers who cut no corners when it comes to defending our clients. If you need to consult with us about criminal charges against you, call our office at 713-224-1747.
About Manslaughter Charges in Texas
In short, manslaughter is defined by Texas law as ““recklessly causes the death of an individual”.
“Recklessly” should be taken to mean that a person took an action with no regard for the circumstances of that action. In truth, the charge and its definition are highly subjective.
In some cases recklessness can be clearly defined.
An example of this is a person driving at 70-100mph in a residential area that has speed limits of 30-35 MPH posted. During their high speed adventure through the neighborhood, a person is struck and killed by the motorist.
In this example, although we’re not going to convict the motorist outside of court, we can understand why the Harris County DA’s office decided to pursue manslaughter charges.
Criminal Penalty if Convicted of Manslaughter
If convicted of the charge, the defendant would be liable to serve a prison sentence ranging from 2-20 years as ordered by 2nd Degree Felony guidelines in Texas.
But, isn’t that criminally negligent homicide? Yes. Well, it could be.
Criminally Negligent Homicide Charges
Criminally Negligent Homicide is defined by Texas Law as a “gross deviation from a standard of care”. Our Manslaughter example perfectly fits this definition, but being charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide carries a substantially lower penalty, if convicted.
Back to our example of the motorist.
A motorist is driving at posted speeds in a residential area, but runs a stop-sign and kills a person as a result of being struck and killed by the motorist.
There is no guarantee that this person will be charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide as opposed to Manslaughter, but let’s assume our motorist was charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide for the purpose of our example. After all, not stopping at a stop-sign can be seen a deviation from a common “standard of care”.
Penalty for Criminally Negligent Homicide Convictions
If convicted, the penalty they’ll face will be applied based on State Jail Felony guidelines which dictates a prison sentence ranging from 6 months to 2 years.
Experience Matters in Homicide Cases
Bennett & Bennett’s legal team are among the best qualified for defending persons “accused” of a crime involving the death of another.
Searching for the best lawyer for your case can be a challenge.
If we don’t have the time to give your case our best effort we’ll be honest with you, and refer you to an equally qualified criminal defense lawyer in Houston that we’re comfortable recommending.
Serious charges require a serious defense. You can reach Attorney Mark W. Bennett at 713-224-1747. Attorney Mark Bennett holds a Board Certification® in Criminal Law from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.