Being accused of vehicular manslaughter is certainly a serious matter, but it does not have to be a hopeless one. Remember, you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Getting an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can significantly improve your chances of preserving your freedom, your reputation, and your future. At the Austin-based law firm of Peek & Toland, PLLC, we treat all of our clients’ cases with utmost gravity and act accordingly, meaning our legal team puts in their best effort no matter what challenges present themselves. To learn more about what our firm can do for you, please call (512) 474-4445.
What Constitutes Vehicular Manslaughter in Texas?
You have had vehicular manslaughter charges brought against you because you were involved in a fatal traffic accident, and the authorities believe you were at fault, even if only partially. The prosecution may try to establish one of the following circumstances to get you convicted:
- Vehicular Manslaughter (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 19.04) – The defendant allegedly caused the death of another person in a reckless or negligent manner while operating a motor vehicle. Punishable as a felony of the second degree.
- Criminally Negligent Homicide (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 19.05) – The defendant allegedly operates a vehicle with criminal negligence, causing the death of another person. Punishable as a Texas jail felony.
- Racing on a Highway (Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 545.420) – The defendant participated in an unsanctioned race and caused the death of another person. Can constitute vehicular manslaughter charge.
- Driving with a Suspended License (Tex. Transp. Code § 521.457) – The defendant killed another person while operating a motor vehicle without a valid license or liability insurance. Punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.
- Intoxication Manslaughter (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 49.08) – The defendant caused the death of another person while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or controlled substances. Typically punishable as a felony second degree.
Unlike civil cases, contributory negligence does not apply to criminal cases. Even if the victim of a vehicular manslaughter case was partially at fault for the incident, the defendant may still face criminal penalties if s/he was also at fault.
What Are the Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter in Texas?
Vehicular manslaughter convictions involving DUIs are typically met with more severe penalties than convictions based on non-DUI traffic offenses. For example, an intoxication manslaughter conviction may result in a prison sentence of two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. However, even lesser offenses can be met with devastating penalties, including a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000, depending on the circumstances.
Contact Our Office Today
If you are facing a vehicular manslaughter charge, it is essential that you do not speak to anyone besides an attorney because you may unknowingly incriminate yourself with your own words. Contact Peek & Toland, PLLC as soon as you can so we can get started on your defense. We will use the full extent of our resources and knowledge to get your charges dropped. If that isn’t possible, then we will use our negotiation skills to attain significantly reduced penalties.