With the great amount of traffic in Houston, car accidents are a constant occurrence, and sometimes these accidents result in the death of another person. Even if the death was the result of a mistake or accident, it is still possible to be charged with vehicular manslaughter. The punishments associated with a conviction for vehicular manslaughter can be severe and result in a criminal record, prison or jail sentences, fines and/or driver’s license revocation or suspension.
Texas does not have a specific statute for vehicular manslaughter, but it can occur in any situation where an individual causes the death of another person while recklessly violating a Texas traffic law. The most violated Texas traffic laws resulting in vehicular manslaughter charges include DWI, reckless driving, driving negligently, driving with a suspended license, and racing on a highway.
Houston Vehicular Manslaughter Lawyer
Contact Horak Law if you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter in Harris County. Houston criminal defense attorney Matt Horak will make every effort to help you find the best possible outcome for your situation and fight the allegations against you.
Call the law office of Matt Horak at (713) 225-8000 for a consultation about your alleged vehicular manslaughter.
Vehicular Manslaughter in Texas
A person who recklessly causes the death of another can be charged with manslaughter in Texas, according to Tex. Penal Code § 19.04. If the individual recklessly operates a vehicle under Tex. Transp. Code § 545.401 and causes the death of another person, they can be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
Also, an individual can be charged with criminally negligent homicide under Tex. Penal Code § 19.05 if they cause the death of another person by operating a vehicle with criminal negligence.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) — Tex. Penal Code § 49.08: An individual can be charged with intoxication manslaughter (vehicular manslaughter) if they operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated and causes the death of another person.
Racing on a Highway — Tex. Transp. Code § 545.420: An individual can be charged with vehicular manslaughter resulting from this offense if they cause the death of an individual by participating in:
- A race,
- A vehicle speed competition or contest,
- A drag race or acceleration contest,
- A test of physical endurance of the operator of a vehicle, or
- In connection with a drag race and exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration, or to make a vehicle speed record.
Driving with a Suspended License — Tex. Transp. Code § 521.457: An individual can be charged with vehicular manslaughter for causing the death of another person while operating a motor vehicle when their license is invalid and without possessing vehicle liability insurance.
Vehicular Manslaughter Penalties in Texas
An individual charged with vehicular manslaughter can receive the following penalties and punishments under Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code.
Manslaughter in Texas is generally a felony of the second degree. This offense can result in a prison sentence from two to 20 years and/or fines up to $10,000.
Criminally negligent homicide is generally a Texas jail felony. A conviction for this offense is punishable by a jail sentence from 180 days to two years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
A conviction for an intoxication manslaughter arising from DWI is a felony of the second degree. This offense can lead to two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000. However, this offense can become a felony of the first degree depending on whether the individual killed was a peace officer, firefighter or emergency medical services personnel.
A conviction for manslaughter resulting from reckless driving can result in a felony of the second degree. This offense is punishable by a prison term ranging from two to 20 years and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
A conviction for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license without possessing vehicle liability insurance that causes the death of another person is a Class A misdemeanor. This offense can result in a fine up to $4,000 and/or a jail sentence not more than one year.
A conviction for racing on a highway resulting in the death or serious bodily injury to an individual can lead to a second-degree felony. This offense is punishable two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
Horak Law | Houston Vehicular Manslaughter Attorney
If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter in Harris County and the surrounding counties of Fort Bend, Montgomery, Galveston, Brazoria, Waller or Liberty, call the law office of Matt Horak at (713) 225-8000.
Matt Horak is a knowledgeable Houston traffic defense attorney and is dedicated to helping you avoid serious penalties and repercussions. Contact Horak Law today for a consultation about your alleged traffic offense.