Very unfortunate events can happen to a person in Houston. Without meaning it, a person may find themselves caught up in the events that led to another person’s death. If it is suspected that a person was responsible for the death, even unintentionally, it could lead to manslaughter charges. It is important, however, to understand the difference between manslaughter and the more serious crime of murder.
What is manslaughter under Texas law?
Texas law states that if a person recklessly causes the death of another person, this constitutes manslaughter. Manslaughter is a second-degree felony. Recklessness is considered more serious than criminal negligence but less serious than the intentional or knowingly commission of an act that leads to another’s death.
What is murder under Texas law?
Texas law states that a person commits murder if they intentionally or knowingly perform an act that leads to another’s death. A person can also commit murder if they intend to seriously harm a person and take actions that are clearly dangerous to human life leading to that person’s death. Finally, a person commits murder in Texas if they commit or are attempting to commit a felony crime, and in this commission or attempt or in flight from said commission or attempt, they do something that is clearly dangerous to human life and leads to a death.
Murder is a first-degree felony unless it is done in an act of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause, in which case it is a second-degree felony. Note that murder is less serious than the crime of capital murder, which is a capital felony.
Manslaughter is a serious crime
As you can see, while manslaughter is not as serious a crime as murder or capital murder, it is still a felony that could lead to a significant prison sentence, steep fines and a criminal record that will follow you the rest of your life making it difficult to obtain employment or secure housing. Fortunately, you may be able to invoke a variety of defenses such as insanity, self-defense or “heat of passion.” Successfully doing so could sway the jury to issue a decision that is in your favor.