Manslaughter Attorney in Austin, Texas
Prosecutors in Texas will pursue a charge of manslaughter if the evidence indicates an individual has recklessly caused the death of another person. Manslaughter is a lesser offense than murder, but it is still a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison or up to 99 years in certain circumstances.
Anyone charged with manslaughter in Texas needs to engage an experienced manslaughter defense attorney as soon as possible. An Austin manslaughter defense lawyer with Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., can start work on your case promptly and prepare to represent you effectively if you must go to trial.
For more than 50 years, the dedicated attorneys at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey have aggressively defended the rights of Texans facing serious criminal charges such as manslaughter. Our defense attorneys have the depth of experience to handle any charge related to homicide, no matter how complex.
Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey is a mid-sized law firm with big-firm status and capabilities. Highly regarded organizations, such as Super Lawyers and the Martindale-Hubbell legal directory, have recognized us. Contact us today at (512) 960-3510 in Austin or fill out our online form for a free and confidential legal consultation about how we can help you.
Why Hire a Lawyer After a Manslaughter Charge?
No one should face the potential consequences of a manslaughter charge without qualified legal representation. Because manslaughter charges can lead to decades of imprisonment, obtaining the most experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial. If you are the defendant in a manslaughter case, your freedom and future are at stake. Texas prosecutors have professional obligations to seek a guilty verdict in any murder case, including accidental homicides charged as manslaughter.
When arrested and held by police, you should decline to answer questions and ask to speak to an attorney. In the Austin, Texas, area, you should contact Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey at (512) 960-3510 at your first opportunity. We strive to respond within the hour.
Why Choose Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. For Your Manslaughter Defense?
If you engage Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey as your defense attorneys, we will work to protect your rights throughout your dealings with the Texas criminal justice system. Our objective is to obtain the best possible outcome available to you under Texas criminal law.
We would first seek to have charges dropped or reduced. In some cases, the best option is for a defendant to plead guilty to reduced charges as part of a plea agreement. For example, if manslaughter charges are reduced to criminally negligent homicide, this is a state jail felony punishable by a maximum of 2 years in prison rather than up to 20 years for manslaughter. Pleading guilty is a decision that is always our client’s to make.
If a trial is necessary, prosecutors must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. We will question every aspect of the prosecution’s case and develop a solid defense strategy to present on your behalf in court. In the event of a guilty verdict, we will promptly review trial records and try to identify judicial errors that could be the basis for overturning the verdict. We would explore all opportunities to file an appeal.
Anyone charged with a crime in Texas has the right to a robust legal defense. The criminal defense attorneys of Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey have the experience, resources, dedication, and reputation in Travis County courts necessary to seek the best possible outcome for you if you have been charged with manslaughter in the Austin, Texas, area.
How Manslaughter and Murder Charges Differ in Texas
Prosecutors may pursue a manslaughter charge in Texas when the evidence indicates a person has recklessly caused the death of another individual.
Under Texas law, a person acts recklessly when he or she is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk. “The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise …,” the statute says.
Texas law defines four levels of homicide. In addition to manslaughter, they are:
- Murder, which is:
- Intentionally or knowingly causing the death of an individual.
- Intentionally inflicting serious bodily injury that leads to death.
- Attempting or committing a felony (other than manslaughter) that leads to an individual’s death.
- Capital murder, which is murder:
- Of a law enforcement officer or firefighter who is acting in an official capacity.
- While committing or attempting kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat.
- For payment or by employing someone to commit murder for payment.
- While escaping or attempting to escape from jail or prison.
- Of an employee of the jail or prison where the defendant is incarcerated.
- While incarcerated for murder or serving a life sentence of 99 years for aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, or aggravated robbery.
- Of more than one person while committing a single crime or during multiple crimes linked by the same plan or course of conduct.
- Of a child.
- Of someone as retaliation for the victim’s service or status as a judge or justice of the court.
- Criminally negligent homicide, which is causing the death of an individual by criminal negligence by disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk of causing a death.
Therefore, a manslaughter charge does not require the knowledge or intent that is part of a murder charge. A manslaughter charge says the defendant knew what they were doing and took a risk that most people would have considered too dangerous, and it led to an individual’s death. Someone who is criminally negligent failed to recognize the danger.
Types of Manslaughter
Texas does not recognize a legal difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
Texas does have a specific statute for intoxication manslaughter, which is operating a motor vehicle in a public place, operating an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembling a mobile amusement ride while intoxicated, and because of that intoxication, causing someone else’s death by accident or mistake.
Penalties for Manslaughter Charges
Manslaughter in Texas is a felony of the second degree punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Intoxication manslaughter is charged as a second-degree felony.
Manslaughter may be punished as a felony of the first degree if, at trial, the prosecutor shows that:
- The defendant used a firearm, drone, cyberattack, or explosive weapon in the commission of the offense.
- The offense was committed as part of an attack on a critical infrastructure facility, which means an electrical power generating facility, substation, switching station, electrical control center, or electrical transmission or distribution facility, and the attack causes a power outage for two hours or more or affects 1,000 or more electricity meters.
A first-degree felony conviction may be punished by five years up to life in prison as set by the court and a fine of up to $10,000.
How a Skilled Manslaughter Defense Attorney Can Help
Your Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey defense attorney will analyze the prosecution’s reasons for charging you with manslaughter and investigate to uncover additional facts about your case. There are multiple possible defense strategies for manslaughter charges.
As evidence allows, we will seek to avoid a trial by:
- Demonstrating your lack of guilt or that you committed a justifiable act.
- Demonstrating enough problems with the prosecution’s case to have the charges dismissed.
- Demonstrating extenuating circumstances that lead to charges being reduced.
- Negotiating a plea bargain that allows you to plead guilty to a lesser charge and accept a lighter sentence than the original manslaughter charge would have carried. Whether to accept such an arrangement is the client’s decision.
If we go to trial, the potential defenses include:
- Defense of others
- Mistaken identity
- Law enforcement errors or misconduct
- Duress, being compelled to commit the offense due to the threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to you or another
- Insanity, that due to severe mental disease or defect, you did not know your conduct was wrong.
Most criminal charges are resolved through a plea bargain without a trial. To have the best chance of negotiating a plea agreement involving a reduction of charges in Texas, you need an experienced, local defense attorney who will investigate your case, who understands what can be done legally, and whose relationships with local prosecutors ensure that evidence in your favor is rightfully considered.
Contact an Experienced Austin Manslaughter Defense Attorney
If you face manslaughter charges in Central Texas, you need to engage an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. A manslaughter defense lawyer with Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., in Austin, TX, can investigate the facts of your case and develop a legal strategy to defend you or to get your charges dismissed or reduced.