Drunk driving can lead to a charge of intoxicated manslaughter in Texas, an indictment that holds harsher penalties than DWI. While intoxicated manslaughter involves driving drunk, voluntary manslaughter, as the name suggests, results when the motorist is driving recklessly and causes another person’s death.
Intoxicated manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas, which can lead to incarceration from two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Anyone convicted of the crime must also serve from 240 to 800 hours of community service. Offenders are also placed on probation after paying the applicable fine and serving time.
In comparison, a vehicular manslaughter charge is lighter. Therefore, you can plead down the charge if intoxication is ruled out. Either charge leads to a license suspension of six months to two years.
If you are arrested following a fatal crash, you need help from a San Marcos criminal defense attorney.
When it doesn’t involve a vehicle, voluntary manslaughter typically occurs when someone kills another person in the heat of passion. This can happen if you get into an argument with someone, emotions escalate, and violence results – even if you didn’t intend to kill the person or premeditate the crime.
Manslaughter is, therefore, different from homicide, which requires a motive, premeditation, and a conscious action. Therefore, the victim is killed as the result of criminal negligence or recklessness beyond all reasonable doubt.
So, if you’re accused of vehicular manslaughter, the state must show you were driving recklessly. If you’re intoxicated, the prosecutor usually has a pretty solid case.
When the courts view drunk driving cases, they take a dim view of the behavior. These inherently dangerous acts show an obvious disregard for another person’s life.
With respect to DWI, a manslaughter charge is a worst-case scenario. It also shows why any type of drunk driving charge is never worth the risk. One poor decision can destroy your life and the lives of others, which can land you in jail for a very long time.
Texas Penal Code 49.08 states that intoxication manslaughter happens when a person:
This behavior leads to another person’s death – either by error or by accident.
Intoxicated manslaughter in Texas is also known as gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Because this type of case is uncommon, you need to speak with a criminal defense lawyer who understands the complexities of this charge.
While the penal code mentioned above covers the first basic element for intoxication manslaughter, the second element entails knowingly and intentionally becoming intoxicated.
This supports the third element, which is causation, or the death of the victim. Because of the defendant’s reckless behavior or intoxication, a fatality occurs. The death was the sole result of the defendant’s intoxication.
As you can see, you may be between a rock and a hard place if you’re found to be guilty of intoxication manslaughter. That is why you need to rely on a lawyer’s help. Don’t overlook the seriousness of this charge. Make sure you get the type of legal support that you can count on.
Have you been charged with a DWI in Texas? If so, don’t waste any time in getting legal representation. Contact Mendoza Law to schedule a consultation now.
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