What is criminally negligent homicide? You can be charged with criminally negligent homicide in Texas if you cause the death of another person due to negligent or irresponsible acts at a criminal level. 

Criminally negligent homicide is one of the four classes of homicide right beside capital murder, murder, and manslaughter. In our article, what are the 4 types of homicide, we discuss how the various charges associated with all types of criminal homicide are extremely serious. Though the penalties for criminally negligent homicide are not quite as severe as murder or manslaughter, they should not be taken lightly. If you are convicted, the consequences can be life-changing

Top Houston criminal defense lawyer Mark Thiessen is here to answer frequently asked questions regarding criminally negligent homicide in Texas.

What is causing death by criminal negligence?

According to Section 6.03(d) of the Texas Penal Code, criminal negligence is defined as, “…an unjustifiable risk of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.”

In other words, if the death of another person accidentally occurs while you are acting in an unreasonable and reckless manner while disregarding obvious risks, you can be charged with criminally negligent homicide. 

Some examples of criminally negligent homicide can include:

  • Vehicular homicide
    • Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
    • Speeding 
    • Distracted driving 
    • Hit-and-run 
  • A fight or physical altercation
  • Failing to call emergency services
  • Leaving a child in a hot car
  • College students being hazed 
  • and more

If you kill someone, even by accident, you can face the harsh penalties for criminally negligent homicide in Texas if convicted.

Penalties for criminally negligent homicide in Texas

What class felony is negligent homicide?

Criminally negligent homicide in Texas is tried as a state jail felony, which is the least severe category of felony charges you can face in Texas. However, the penalties for conviction are far from light. 

What is the punishment for criminally negligent homicide?

Here are the following punishments for being convicted of criminally negligent homicide in Texas:

Minimum Jail TimeMaximum Jail TimeFines
180 days in state jail2 years in state jailUp to $10,000

If convicted, you may also face other punishments that can affect your civil rights and freedoms, the ability to keep or find employment, maintaining the custody of your children and more. You need a strong and aggressive defense attorney who can fight hard for your freedom.

Defenses for criminally negligent homicide in Texas

In criminal homicide cases, the level of intent is a defining factor for murder charge defenses. However, with criminally negligent homicide, it is implied that you did not intend to cause the death of another person –– therefore, lack of intent cannot be used as a defense strategy. Your conviction will depend on how reckless and negligent your actions were in the accident. 

An experienced criminal defense attorney knows that not all accident cases are black and white. Your actions as well as the evidence found on the scene can tell a different story than what meets the eye. If your attorney can convince the court that you, the defendant, were unaware of a risk created by your actions or that your actions had no effect on the outcome, it is likely that your charges may be dropped.

You need an expert criminal defense attorney to help you gather evidence and build a strong case for you. Your reputation, livelihood, and privileges are on the line. 

Facing a Criminally Negligent Homicide Charge? You Need a Serious Defense Attorney from Thiessen Law Firm.

What is criminally negligent homicide? A criminally negligent homicide charge in Texas can be life-altering and downright scary. That’s why you need a serious criminal defense attorney from Thiessen Law Firm. We will conduct a thorough investigation, create a personalized defense strategy, and use our years of knowledge and expertise to build a strong case for you. With over 100 Not-Guilty verdicts, you can rest easy knowing that we have handled hundreds of cases just like yours.

If you are facing a criminally negligent murder charge in Texas, call Thiessen Law Firm at 713-864-9000 or contact us online today for a FREE case consultation. 

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Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.