Manslaughter is a type of criminal homicide in Texas. Manslaughter may be voluntary or involuntary, and one of the most common types of manslaughter cases in the Lone Star State is vehicular manslaughter such as intoxication manslaughter—which is a separately defined crime that carries the same penalties as a basic manslaughter offense.
While manslaughter is often thought of as being a lesser offense than murder, the crime is still a felony offense that carries steep penalties. People convicted of manslaughter can be sentenced to lengthy prison sentences and ordered to pay steep fines.
Lawyer for Manslaughter Arrests in Georgetown, TX
If you believe that you could be under investigation or you were already arrested or indicted in Central Texas for an alleged manslaughter, it is in your best interest to not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. will protect your rights and fight to possibly have these criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Georgetown criminal defense attorney Michael J. Price represents individuals charged with violent crimes throughout Williamson County and Bell County, including Harker Heights, Leander, Taylor, Hutto, Benton, and several other nearby communities. You can receive a complete evaluation of your case when you call (512) 354-1880 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Texas Manslaughter Crimes Information Center
- How is manslaughter different from murder?
- What are the consequences of being convicted of manslaughter?
- Where can I learn more about manslaughter in Georgetown?
Texas Penal Code § 19.04 defines the crime of manslaughter as a person recklessly causing the death of an individual. This criminal charge differs from murder, in which an alleged offender intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual, or criminally negligent homicide, in which an alleged offender causes the death of an individual by criminal negligence.
Under Texas Penal Code § 6.03(c), a person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his or her conduct or the result of his or her conduct when he or she is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
The definition of recklessly differs from the definitions of other culpable mental states as listed under Texas Penal Code § 6.03:
- A person acts intentionally, or with intent, with respect to the nature of his or her conduct or to a result of his or her conduct when it is his or her conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.
- A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of his or her conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he or she is aware of the nature of his or her conduct or that the circumstances exist. A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of his or her conduct when he or she is aware that his or her conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.
- A person acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding his or her conduct or the result of his conduct when he or she ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
Manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Vehicular manslaughter or intoxication manslaughter offenses are also classified as second-degree felony offenses, although those crimes can be subject to enhanced penalties in certain cases.
Intoxication manslaughter becomes a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offender caused the death of a peace officer, a firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel while in the actual discharge of an official duty.
Selman v. State, 663 SW 2d 838 (Tex. Crim. App. 1984) — Sam Selman was indicted for murder but a jury convicted him of voluntary manslaughter and the court sentenced him to eight years in prison. The Seventh District Court of Appeals reversed his conviction after it found that the jury charge on voluntary manslaughter authorized conviction on a theory not charged in the indictment. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas conclude that the “failure to include an essential element of the offense in the charge applying the law to the facts is fundamental error” and affirmed the Court of Appeals decision, but remanded the case for consideration of the sufficiency of the evidence.
Wood v. State, 271 SW 3d 329 (Tex.App.-San Antonio [4th Dist.] 2008) — Tabitha Wood returned to her home one night after spending the evening with Martin Gutierrez. Michael McCoy, the man who Wood lived with and the father to Wood’s 3-year-old child, ran to the driver’s door from the rear of the truck, opened the door, grabbed Wood’s arm, and tried to pull her from the truck. Wood put the car in gear and began to drive forward. McCoy did not release his grip on Wood or the truck and was subsequently run over by the truck’s rear tire. Wood eventually called 911 and reported the attack, but she was charged with murder and later convicted of manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid. The Fourth District Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court erred when it refused to instruct the jury on the defense of necessity and reversed the trial court’s judgment regarding Wood’s manslaughter conviction, remanding the case to the trial court for a new trial as to that offense.
Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. | Georgetown Manslaughter Defense Attorney
Were you arrested or indicted for alleged manslaughter in Central Texas? Do not make any kind of statement to authorities without legal representation. Contact Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. as soon as possible.
Michael J. Price is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Georgetown who defends clients in Temple, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Killeen, Georgetown, and many surrounding areas of Williamson County and Bell County. Call (512) 354-1880 or fill out an online contact form today to have our attorney review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free initial consultation.