Facing a jail sentence for DWI manslaughter or intoxication manslaughter charge in Texas is no walk in the park. Although the accident was likely unintentional, you face heavy charges that need to be taken very seriously, and which require the expertise of a Houston DWI attorney to address them.
Here are the 3 things you should know about vehicular and intoxication manslaughter in Texas.
What is vehicular manslaughter?
First things first, what is vehicular manslaughter? Simply put, vehicular manslaughter occurs when a person causes the death of another human as a result of reckless or negligent driving behavior, which can expand to include drinking and driving (known as intoxication manslaughter in Texas).
Vehicular manslaughter can become part of the conversation if the reckless driving results in the death of a passenger in the driver’s vehicle, an occupant in another vehicle, or a pedestrian. And to make matters more complex, even a pedestrian can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if their actions somehow lead to the death of another.
1) How the court determines jail sentences for DWI manslaughter
Can you go to jail for DWI manslaughter/vehicular manslaughter? Yes. How your unintentional vehicular manslaughter case pans out will typically be determined by the severity of your reckless driving. For example, if you were driving 5 mph over the speed limit, this might only result in a misdemeanor charge.
But what is the maximum sentence for vehicular manslaughter? Frankly, the maximum sentences are some of the most common cases: vehicular manslaughter cases are often treated as felonies.
2) When intoxication manslaughter comes into play
In Texas, if you cause the death of another person while operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, this is known as intoxication manslaughter, or sometimes DWI manslaughter. And in this case, a vehicle can expand to cover anything from a boat to an airplane.
Of course, jail sentences for DWI manslaughter are much more aggressive than the standard drinking and driving charge. It is considered a second-degree felony that can result in up to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Take a look at the penalties for intoxication manslaughter in Texas.
Here are some additional resources that might help you out:
- Texas DWI Laws: First Offenses
- Everything You Need to Know About the Texas Legal Alcohol Limit in Texas
- What a DWI Lawyer Can Do For Your Case (And How to Choose One)
3) The types of driving that result in higher jail sentences for DWI manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter
There are more than a few actions that can result in higher charges for vehicular manslaughter cases — some of which are certainly less negligent or reckless than others, making vehicular manslaughter cases extra difficult to maneuver.
Here are some examples of common situations that can lead to vehicular manslaughter charges:
- Using your phone
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (including prescription drugs)
- Taking your eyes off the road (for example, reaching into the backseat to grab something)
- Ignoring safety signs (anything from an illegal U-turn to bad windshield wipers)
- Driving over or under the speed limit
- Racing other vehicles
- Driving with little to no sleep
Find yourself facing intoxication manslaughter charges in Texas?
It’s time to contact an expert. With steep fines and heavy jail time involved in vehicular and intoxication manslaughter cases, it’s important to seek the help of a Houston intoxication manslaughter defense attorney who specializes in Criminal Defense — someone like Mark Thiessen. As a board-certified lawyer in Houston, Mark can help you navigate the murky waters of intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter. Contact Thiessen Law Firm today for your free consultation.
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