Vehicular Manslaughter Defense
Houston Vehicular Manslaughter Attorneys :: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp
When a Texas prosecutor decides to file vehicular manslaughter charges, it’s important to remember that every element of the charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Accidental vehicular manslaughter charges are somewhat subjective in nature, so retaining the services of a qualified vehicular manslaughter lawyer is the best means of challenging the prosecution’s case. A conviction for vehicular manslaughter can result in incarceration, fines and civil penalties.
Involuntary Vehicular Manslaughter
When a driver causes the death of another person due to reckless driving, they can be held criminally liable by the Texas criminal justice system. Manslaughter charges can result even if there is no intent. Even if the death was accidental, the driver can still be charged with negligence and vehicular manslaughter. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is prohibited under Section 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code. If a driver of a vehicle kills someone else while drunk or high, they can face intoxication manslaughter charges. If a sober driver kills someone, they can face vehicular manslaughter allegations.
The following additional factors may also influence the nature of a vehicular manslaughter charge:
- Fleeing the scene of a car accident
- Speed of the vehicle
- Distracted or erratic driving
- Failure to exercise control of the vehicle
- Force and nature of the collision
- State of drowsiness
Accidental Vehicular Manslaughter Penalties
Vehicular manslaughter is a serious criminal charge. The exact criminal charge and punishment will vary in accordance with the nature of the incident and the previous criminal record of the defendant. The following range of vehicular manslaughter penalties is prescribed in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code:
- Class A misdemeanor: Up to one year of confinement and a maximum fine of $4,000
- State jail felony: Six months to two years in confinement and a maximum fine of $10,000
- Third-degree felony: Two to 10 years in confinement and a maximum fine of $10,000
- Second-degree felony: Two to 20 years in confinement and a maximum fine of $10,000
- First-degree felony: Five years to life in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000
The penalties for involuntary vehicular manslaughter can be increased by one degree if the victim was a peace officer, firefighter or medical services worker. A defendant can also be saddled with a criminal record, lose their drivers license or be required to perform up to 800 hours of community service.
Request the Help of a Vehicular Manslaughter Attorney in Houston, TX
The expertise of a Houston area vehicular manslaughter lawyer can make it difficult for prosecutors to prove their case in court. A skilled criminal lawyer knows how to exploit every defect in the prosecution’s case. Schedule a complimentary case evaluation by contacting The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp.