Exploring the Law for Criminal Negligent Homicide in Texas

Exploring the Laws for Criminal Negligent Homicide in Texas

In Texas, the responsibility for someone else’s death is a grave concern. There are many types of criminal homicide, with capital murder being the most severe. But at the other end, there exists a charge known as criminally negligent homicide. If the authorities believe your actions resulted in someone’s death due to extreme negligence, you could be charged with criminally negligent homicide, one of the offenses for causing death in Texas.

This charge is a little different and is only applied in specific circumstances. Although it’s still a terrible offense, manslaughter and murder are penalized more severely. The primary explanation is that it’s about carelessness rather than intent to hurt someone.

What Does Criminally Negligent Homicide Mean?

Criminal negligence refers to causing a person’s demise as a result of extreme recklessness. It’s also called involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide. Acting without caution and causing serious harm or death to someone is a major deviation from the expected level of care.

In accordance with Texas Penal Code Section 6.03, criminal negligence is described as a situation where an individual should have recognized that their actions were responsible for creating a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death. Not realizing this shows a big difference from what most people would think is safe.

Criminally Negligent Homicide in Texas

According to Section 19.05 of the Texas Penal Code, criminally negligent homicide occurs when someone dies as a result of another person’s extreme carelessness. This can happen when someone:

  • Deliberately disregarded safety regulations and failed to take protective measures while aware of the danger.
  • Made a situation risky by disregarding safety protocols.
  • in a manner that directly resulted in someone’s demise.

Difference Between The Criminal Negligent Homicide and Manslaughter

Criminally negligent homicide is not the same as manslaughter. While both lack the intent to kill, manslaughter involves unintentionally causing someone’s death. Conversely, criminally negligent homicide occurs when a person’s reckless behavior results in another’s death.

For instance, consider a parent who leaves a loaded firearm within reach of their curious child. The child, playing with the gun, accidentally shoots and kills a sibling.

In this case, if the parent is charged with criminally negligent homicide, it would suggest that while they didn’t intend for the tragedy to occur, their reckless disregard for firearm safety led to the fatal accident.

In contrast, where a parent chooses to fire a gun despite knowing that children are present. This action demonstrates a severe lack of care for the safety of others, resulting in a tragic outcome. This scenario would more likely be classified as manslaughter, as the parent’s deliberate act of firing the gun, knowing the risk, led directly to the death.

Manslaughter means not caring about others’ safety, while negligent homicide means not realizing how serious the situation is. However, manslaughter often has harsher penalties compared to criminally negligent homicide.

Method of Punishment

Typically, when someone faces an accusation of criminally negligent homicide, they undergo prosecution aimed at establishing their guilt. To secure a conviction, the prosecution is required to establish the following:

  • The defendant’s actions directly resulted in someone’s death.
  • The accused was conscious of the risks associated with their conduct.
  • The accused failed to fulfill their duty to act reasonably in preventing a death.

Sentence for Criminal Negligent Homicide

A conviction for criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony with a possible prison term of 180 days to 2 years. Additionally, substantial fines, which can amount to as much as $10,000, may be imposed. In some cases, individuals may be eligible for probation and community service as part of their sentence.

Possible Defenses

Since every case has its own unique set of circumstances, no two cases are identical. Here are some defenses that could apply, depending on the specific details of each case:

1. Causation: Challenge the prosecution’s ability to establish a direct link between the defendant’s actions and the victim’s death. If there are other contributing factors or circumstances that could have led to the death, present evidence to show that the defendant’s actions were not the primary cause.

2. Establish Lack of Intent: Emphasize that criminally negligent homicide does not involve intentional harm. The accused didn’t intend to harm anyone or cause the death of another person. It may not be as severe as murder, but it’s still a significant matter.

3. Inadequate Evidence: Challenge the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution. If you find mistakes or things that don’t make sense in their case, you can say they haven’t proven their side convincingly enough.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

Facing a criminally negligent homicide charge in Texas can indeed have profound and life-altering consequences. Therefore, it is essential to seek the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney. A good lawyer will investigate and create a personalized defense plan. They will use their knowledge and experience to make a strong argument for you.

A felony conviction can indeed bring about lasting changes in your life. It can make finding employment, especially in your preferred field, quite challenging. Additionally, it has the potential to strip away certain rights, such as voting and firearm ownership. Whether the conviction was for intentional or unintentional actions, a murder conviction leaves an indelible and far-reaching impact.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Texas Criminal Defense Group for comprehensive guidance. In our initial, no-obligation conversation, we can explore potential strategies and options tailored to your specific circumstances.