What Constitutes Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas?
- operates a motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, amusement ride, or assembles an amusement ride,
- is intoxicated, and
- causes the death of another person by accident or mistake (because of their intoxication).
Types of Criminal Homicide: Murder vs. Manslaughter
When a person kills another person, that is homicide. In Texas, there are four types of criminal homicide:
- Capital murder
- Criminally negligent homicide
If you have intent and willfully kill someone, that is murder. Manslaughter, on the other hand, occurs when you kill someone “by accident or mistake.”
Vehicular Manslaughter vs. Intoxication Manslaughter
If someone accidentally kills another person because of their reckless driving (or actions), they may be charged with either vehicular or intoxication manslaughter. The difference is that vehicular manslaughter does not involve the driver being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The penalties for the two crimes are very similar.
What Are the Consequences of Intoxication Manslaughter?
Intoxication manslaughter convictions are classified as second-degree felonies. However, if the decedent is a firefighter, emergency medical services worker, judge, or peace officer who was “in the actual discharge of an official duty,” then an offender can be charged with first-degree felony.
As outlined in Texas Penal Code § 12.33, the penalties for a second-degree felony are as follows:
- Imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or a term anywhere from 2-20 years
- A fine of no more than $10,000
Under Texas Penal Code § 12.32, the penalties for a first-degree felony are as follows:
- Imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or a term anywhere from 5-99 years
- A fine of no more than $10,000
It is important to note that you can face multiple manslaughter charges if there was more than one person killed in the accident. An offender can also face additional charges if a minor was involved or they have prior DWI convictions. There are also social consequences related to felony convictions, which include but are not limited to difficulties involving:
- Finding a job
- Renting a home
- Losing your license
- Owning or possessing a firearm
- Managing familial or other relationships
- Protecting your reputation
Contact J. Roland Jeter, P.C. Today
If you have been charged with Intoxication Manslaughter, you need to reach out to Attorney J. Roland Jeter immediately. The sooner you do, the sooner he can work with you to create a solid defense strategy and discuss your options. In these cases, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You were driving in a public place.
- You were intoxicated by the statutory definition (which is having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher).
- Your intoxication caused the accident.
- The accident caused the fatality.
In your defense, Attorney Jeter can call into question the cause of the accident and/or who is at fault. He can also advise you of your best legal options and help you receive a favorable outcome by:
- negotiating with the prosecutor for reduced charges,
- petitioning the court to reduce or dismiss the charges, or
- winning your case at trial.
With over 40 years of experience, J. Roland Jeter, P.C. is committed to providing clients with an aggressive legal defense. Retaining him can make all the difference in your case. To schedule your initial consultation, contact his office today at (972) 330.4050 or reach out online.