Manslaughter is a serious criminal charge that can result in a felony conviction in Texas. When a Houston resident is charged with manslaughter, it is because prosecutors believe that the individual recklessly caused the death of another person. Different charges may be filed based on the circumstances of an alleged fatal crime, but allegations of recklessness are particular to manslaughter claims.
What is recklessness?
According to the Texas Penal Code, recklessness involves the conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk to others. In other words, a person acts recklessly of they consciously disregard major risks to others that are created by their actions. The decision of the individual must significantly deviate from the accepted standard of care for a person in their situation to be considered reckless.
How does this information impact manslaughter defense strategies?
There are a lot of critical terms in the discussion of recklessness in the context of a manslaughter case. For example, a manslaughter defendant and their criminal defense lawyer may be able to argue that the individual did not consciously disregard dangers posed to others as is required for an act to be reckless. Without the requisite awareness to prove recklessness, the manslaughter charge may not stand.
Similarly, a defendant may be able to argue that their actions did not deviate sufficiently from accepted standards of care. If their actions were not far from what a reasonable person would have done in their situation, then their actions may not be deemed reckless. There are many ways the elements of a criminal defense charge can be argued to create opportunities for defendants, including those facing manslaughter charges.