How Are Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Manslaughter Defined in Texas?
When a driver is speeding, intoxicated, or otherwise negligent at the time of an accident and this negligence causes in the death of a passenger, pedestrian or other motorist, the individual may receive charges of vehicular homicide or manslaughter. This crime can also apply when individuals drive with suspended licenses, and it leads to the death of a passenger or another person.
Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) can result in serious accusations of vehicular manslaughter when an intoxicated driver kills someone. Texas also charges an individual with “intoxication manslaughter” when the alleged offender operates a motor vehicle in a public location, including on the water or in the air, and it leads to the death of another individual. In cases involving excessive alcohol consumption, prosecutors do not need to prove that the accused acted with criminal intent or a “guilty mind.” Texas takes cases of vehicular homicide very seriously and has harsh penalties in place for those convicted of the crime.
Texas Penalties for Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Manslaughter
Texas is one of many states with specific vehicular homicide statutes, which consider vehicles to be potentially dangerous weapons. Charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter can range from receiving misdemeanors for speeding and other issues of negligence to severe fines and prison sentences for vehicular crimes committed while intoxicated or with criminal intent. The state considers more severe cases to be second-degree felonies with potential sentences ranging from two to 20 years in prison. The law also bases specific sentences upon previous criminal history, the nature of the offense, and other factors.