Vehicular Manslaughter in Texas: Legal Definitions, Penalties, and Consequences

When it comes to vehicular manslaughter in Texas, understanding the legal definitions, penalties, and consequences is essential for anyone facing these charges. This blog post will provide an overview of vehicular manslaughter laws in Texas and offer helpful tips for navigating the legal process. It is important to remember, however, that every case is unique. 

What is Vehicular Manslaughter?

Vehicular manslaughter, also known as vehicular homicide, is a criminal offense that occurs when a person causes the death of another individual through the negligent operation of a motor vehicle. In Texas, vehicular manslaughter can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the incident's circumstances. The specific charges and penalties will depend on factors such as the driver's level of negligence, prior criminal history, and whether or not the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.

Key Legal Definitions

Several key legal definitions are essential to understand in the context of vehicular manslaughter cases in Texas:

  • Intoxication: In Texas, a person is considered intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or if they do not have the normal use of their mental or physical faculties due to the use of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.
  • Negligence: Negligence is the failure to exercise the degree of care a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances. In vehicular manslaughter cases, negligence often involves speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, or driving while distracted.
  • Criminal Negligence: This is a higher level of negligence that involves a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise. In Texas, criminal negligence is often charged when a person's actions demonstrate a reckless disregard for the safety of others.

What are the Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter in Texas?

The penalties for vehicular manslaughter in Texas can vary greatly depending on the case's circumstances. In general, however, the potential penalties include:

  • Imprisonment: A conviction for vehicular manslaughter can result in a prison sentence ranging from two years to 20 years, depending on the severity of the offense and the defendant's prior criminal history.
  • Fines: Fines for vehicular manslaughter convictions can range from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the specific charges and the defendant's prior criminal history.
  • Probation: In some cases, a person convicted of vehicular manslaughter may be sentenced to probation instead of imprisonment. Probation typically involves a period of supervision and may include requirements such as community service, alcohol or drug treatment, and the completion of a defensive driving course.
  • Driver's License Suspension: A vehicular manslaughter conviction can also result in the suspension or revocation of the defendant's driver's license for a period determined by the court.

Start Your Defense Today 

If you are facing vehicular manslaughter charges in Texas, it is crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney like Alexander J. Houthuijzen can help you understand your case's legal definitions, penalties, and consequences and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific circumstances. By working with a knowledgeable attorney, you can increase your chances of achieving the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact Alexander J. Houthuijzen, Attorney-at-Law, today to schedule a FREE consultation!