Manslaughter Defense in Texas
Legal Definition of Manslaughter in McAllen, TX
Under Texas Penal Code §19.04, "manslaughter," the crime of manslaughter occurs when someone "recklessly causes the death of an individual." The primary distinction between manslaughter and the other type of criminal homicide, murder, is the fact that the latter offense is committed intentionally and knowingly, whether it is premeditated or committed in the heat of the moment, while the former is the result of the reckless actions of the perpetrator. In many cases of homicide, a primary goal of the defense is to ensure that the crime is charged as manslaughter rather than murder, as this would mean lighter penalties in the event of a conviction. This depends largely on establishing what the state of mind of the defendant was at the time of the incident.
Explaining the Difference Between Manslaughter and Murder
If you are accused of killing another person in Houston, such as by pushing him or her down a staircase, for example, the difference between murder and manslaughter could be whether you meant to actually cause the victim to fall down the stairs or if you were simply trying to shove him or her. If you intended for the other person to fall down the stairs, it can be inferred that you either meant for him or her to die or to suffer bodily injury, whereas if you were merely shoving, it could be considered that you did not intend for the person to actually suffer any harm. In other cases, the goal is to clear the defendants name entirely by demonstrating either that he or she did not commit the crime or that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant committed manslaughter.
Penalties for Manslaughter in Houston
Manslaughter is charged as a felony of the second degree, the possible sentence for which is a fine of $10,000 and a prison sentence lasting for a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 20 years. Even after completing your sentence, you would have to live into the future with the stigma of having been found guilty of causing the death of another human being, in addition to the fact that having a felony conviction on your criminal record can present overwhelming difficulties in finding suitable employment. At Guerra & Farah, PLLC, we understand how much is at stake for your future, and our criminal defense lawyers in McAllen are ready to fight to defend your rights.
Contact us now for a confidential consultation, during which you can tell your version of the events and learn about strategies that we can use in your case.