Manslaughter

An accident that results in the unintentional death of another person will inevitably change the lives of all involved. Every individual who is represented by the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy has a unique set of circumstances and stories with regards to the charges they are facing. We devote our time listening to you and gathering information to guide your trial to a positive outcome.

Manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter are among the most serious charges in Texas. They are among the four categories of criminal homicide in Texas and carry lengthy prison terms, especially if there are more than one victim and multiple counts related to the incident. While the events of an accident can occur in a split second and seem to exist in the fog of memory, legal counsel will meticulously and thoughtfully recreate the events to form a clear picture.

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Manslaughter Defense Lawyer in Denton, Little Elm, Lewisville, and Flower Mound, TX

If you have been arrested for manslaughter in Denton, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, including Argyle, Aubrey, Carrollton, Denton, Flower Mound, Frisco, Justin, Krum, Lake Dallas, Lewisville, Little Elm, Pilot Point, Ponder, Roanoke, Sanger, or The Colony, contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.

Attorney Richard McConathy will help you through all crucial phases of the criminal process and make every effort to fight the allegations against you. Call the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (940) 222-8004 about your manslaughter charges.

Manslaughter Charges in Denton County

Texas is unique in separating the charge of manslaughter in the Texas Penal Code from intoxication manslaughter. Additionally, there is not a legal separation between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter as is common in other states.

Manslaughter is defined by Texas Penal Code § 19.04 as recklessly causing the death of an individual. A person acts recklessly, or is reckless, when he 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 care that an ordinary person would exercise under the same circumstances.

According to Texas Penal Code § 6.03, mental states are defined as:

  • Intentionally – An individual has this state of mind if they commit some type of conduct and it is in their desire or conscious objective to engage in the conduct or to cause the result.
  • Knowingly – An individual has this state of mind if they commit some type of conduct and they are aware their conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.
  • Recklessly – An individual has this state of mind if they commit some act and they are aware of the result of the conduct, but consciously disregard the possibility the result will occur.
  • Criminal Negligence – An individual has this state of mind if they should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur.
 

Essentially, intentionally means that a person intended to cause the alleged action, knowingly means the person was aware of the nature of their actions, recklessly means the person was aware of the risk but disregarded it, and criminal negligence applies when a person’s actions represent a deviation from the standard of care.

A reckless driver falls into this category. Any motor vehicle accident caused by driving recklessly, or with a wanton disregard for the safety of others, that results in the death of another, could be charged with manslaughter.

Examples of manslaughter include a reckless driving accident due to speeding, racing, or swerving between cars. Additionally, there may have been a physical fight where there was no intention to harm another seriously, but the result was injury leading to death.

Manslaughter Penalties in Denton

Manslaughter is punishable as a second-degree felony. The penalties are up to 20 years in prison, though there is a possibility of a lesser charge of up to 180 days in jail followed up by two to ten years’ probation. A fine of up to $10,000 may be required.

Intoxication Manslaughter Charges in Denton County

Intoxication manslaughter takes place when, due to a driver’s intoxication, a motor vehicle accident occurs that results in death. A deadly accident is extremely tragic. If you have been unfortunately involved in a car crash, you may be facing a number of charges related to the accident. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will handle each aspect of your trial with extensive experience to draw upon. 

A person need not be intoxicated on alcohol to be considered intoxicated. Section 49.01 of the Texas Penal Code defines intoxication as having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more or not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of any substance in the body. What sets intoxication manslaughter apart from manslaughter is the use of the term “reckless.”

If you are assumed to be intoxicated, then your actions are immediately considered reckless. A solid defense will question any assumption of your intoxicated mental and physical state and how it relates to the facts of the accident. Additionally, the accident must be specifically due to your intoxication, and would not have occurred otherwise, for you to be charged with intoxication manslaughter.

Under Texas Penal Code § 49.08, a person commits an intoxication manslaughter offense if they operate a motor vehicle in a public place, operate an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assemble a mobile amusement ride, and is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake. Except as provided by Texas Penal Code § 49.09, an offense is a second-degree felony.

Texas Penal Code § 49.09 provides that except as provided by Subsection (b), an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065 is a Class A misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 30 days, if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted one time of an offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, an offense of operating an aircraft while intoxicated, an offense of operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or an offense of operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated. An offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, 49.045, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065 is a third-degree felony if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted one time of an offense under Section 49.08 or an offense under the laws of another state if the offense contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense under Section 49.08; or two times of any other offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, operating an aircraft while intoxicated, operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.

An offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 is a felony of the second degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person caused serious bodily injury to a firefighter or emergency medical services personnel while in the actual discharge of official duty, or a felony of the first degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person caused serious bodily injury to a peace officer or judge while the officer or judge was in the actual discharge of an official duty.

An offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.08 is a felony of the first degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person caused the death of a person described by Subsection (b-1). For the purposes of Subsection (b-1), “Emergency medical services personnel” has the meaning assigned by Section 773.003, Health and Safety Code, “Firefighter” means an individual employed by this state or by a political or legal subdivision of this state who is subject to certification by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection; or a member of an organized volunteer fire-fighting unit that renders fire-fighting services without remuneration; and conducts a minimum of two drills each month, each at least two hours long.

An offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 is a felony of the second degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person caused serious bodily injury to another in the nature of a traumatic brain injury that results in a persistent vegetative state. For the purposes of this section, “Offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated” means an offense under Section 49.04 or 49.045; an offense under Section 49.07 or 49.08, if the vehicle operated was a motor vehicle; an offense under Article 6701l-1, Revised Statutes, as that law existed before September 1, 1994; an offense under Article 6701l-2, Revised Statutes, as that law existed before January 1, 1984; an offense under Section 19.05(a)(2), as that law existed before September 1, 1994, if the vehicle operated was a motor vehicle; or an offense under the laws of another state that prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

“Offense of operating an aircraft while intoxicated” means an offense under Section 49.05; an offense under Section 49.07 or 49.08, if the vehicle operated was an aircraft; an offense under Section 1, Chapter 46, Acts of the 58th Legislature, Regular Session, 1963 (Article 46f-3, Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes), as that law existed before September 1, 1994; an offense under Section 19.05(a)(2), as that law existed before September 1, 1994, if the vehicle operated was an aircraft; or an offense under the laws of another state that prohibit the operation of an aircraft while intoxicated.

“Offense of operating a watercraft while intoxicated” means an offense under Section 49.06; an offense under Section 49.07 or 49.08, if the vehicle operated was a watercraft; an offense under Section 31.097, Parks and Wildlife Code, as that law existed before September 1, 1994; an offense under Section 19.05(a)(2), as that law existed before September 1, 1994, if the vehicle operated was a watercraft; or an offense under the laws of another state that prohibit the operation of a watercraft while intoxicated.

“Offense of operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated” means an offense under Section 49.065; an offense under Section 49.07 or 49.08, if the offense involved the operation or assembly of an amusement ride; or an offense under the law of another state that prohibits the operation of an amusement ride while intoxicated or the assembly of a mobile amusement ride while intoxicated.

The punishment for Intoxication Manslaughter is a second-degree felony. The prison term is anywhere from two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. It is possible to be sentenced with probation, but jail time remains a possibility. If the person killed in the accident is a firefighter or emergency responder, the charge is brought to a first-degree felony. The sentence is no less than five years up to a whopping 99 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

Denton County Resources for Manslaughter

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure – This link is to Chapter 21 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which defines an indictment and information, how they are to be presented and the types of cases they apply to.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure – Trial – This link to Chapter 36 of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which defines all elements of a trial before a jury, including the order of the trial, witnesses, arguments by the prosecutor and defense attorney, and jury deliberations.

Texas Penal Code – General Defenses – This link is to Chapter 8 of the Texas Penal Code, which defines many general statutory defenses to criminal charges, including the mistake of law, mistake of fact, insanity, duress, and entrapment.

Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for Manslaughter Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your arrest for manslaughter in Denton County in Texas.  Richard McConathy is an experienced criminal defense attorney who will make every effort to find applicable defenses in your particular case to have your charge reduced or even dismissed.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy right now at (940) 222-8004 or contact us online for a free consultation about your manslaughter arrest throughout Denton County in Texas and the surrounding counties of Wise County, Kaufman County, Dallas County, Grayson County, Rockwall County, Johnson County, Ellis County, and Parker County.