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Elements of manslaughter and possible defenses in cases

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Texas takes crimes that result in a person’s death very seriously. That includes manslaughter, which is a crime that is complex in the state. While other states have charges of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, Texas doesn’t make a distinction. It’s important to understand these laws if you face charges for a crime.

What are the elements of manslaughter in Texas?

Manslaughter is one of the most violent crimes that can be committed. In Texas, in order for a conviction to occur, the prosecutor is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that certain elements are in place. Without these elements, the jury may not be convinced of the defendant’s guilt. The elements of manslaughter include the following:

• The defendant caused the death of another person through reckless actions. The action does not have to be premeditated.
• The defendant was either intoxicated when they caused the death of the victim or the victim was killed due to the defendant’s recklessness while they were driving.

Texas recognizes two different types of manslaughter: intoxication manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter. This is why there are special elements involving intoxication or recklessness while operating a vehicle.

What are the possible defenses against a manslaughter charge?

Violent crimes need strong defenses when the case goes to trial. For manslaughter, the following defenses can be used:

• Insanity: The defendant is insane and therefore, cannot be held responsible for their actions.
• Self-defense: If the person’s death occurred because the defendant acted in self-defense, they cannot be convicted of manslaughter.
• Heat of passion: An extreme emotion caused the defendant to kill the victim.

What are the penalties for manslaughter?

Manslaughter is a very serious offense, which means it carries equally serious penalties if a person is convicted. The crime is classified as a felony in the second degree, which means anywhere from two to 20 years of incarceration in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

A charge of manslaughter is nothing to take lightly. It’s imperative to have the strongest defense possible in your case if you are arrested and charged with this crime.