What are the manslaughter laws in Texas?

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2022 | Criminal Defense

There are different categories of homicide. One of those crimes is manslaughter, which requires a solid defense. Knowing Texas’ laws on manslaughter is important if you have been arrested for the crime.

How Texas law defines manslaughter

Manslaughter refers to the killing of another person that occurs as a result of recklessness. However, unlike murder, a manslaughter charge means that the defendant did not intend for the victim to die.

Although many states recognize voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, Texas does not distinguish the crime in that way. The only aspect needed in a manslaughter case is that a person’s death was caused by someone else’s reckless actions. Premeditation is not a factor in this crime. However, if the death stems from the defendant’s use of a vehicle, a person could be charged with vehicular manslaughter or intoxication manslaughter.

Penalties for manslaughter

In Texas, manslaughter is classified as a felony crime. As a result, if a person is convicted, they can face serious penalties. In most cases, that includes between two and 20 years in prison and a fine that could range as high as $10,000.

What are the possible defenses to manslaughter charges?

Because of the severity of manslaughter, it’s important for anyone facing charges to have a strong criminal defense for their case. One of the potential defenses that could be used is to claim insanity, that the defendant is insane or was insane at the time of the killing.

Self-defense is a common defense used in manslaughter cases. If the defendant used force against the victim because they had reason to believe their life was in imminent danger, self-defense might be a strong argument in the case.

Another common defense in manslaughter cases is that the killing occurred during the heat of passion. This means that the defendant might have been in a blind fit of rage at that moment and was not in control of their emotions when the crime occurred. Actual innocence can be argued if the defendant truly did not commit the crime.