Homicides are among the most serious crimes a person can be charged with. Criminally negligent homicide is the lowest level of homicide in Texas, but could still result in years of incarceration. That’s why you must contact a Dallas Criminally Negligent Homicide Lawyer with the expertise to defend what can be a complex and even high-stakes case that often comes with media attention.
This article summarizes the offense of Criminally Negligent Homicide, which is one of four homicide offenses in Texas. Homicide means the unlawful killing of a person. The other offenses are Murder, Capital Murder, and Manslaughter.
What is Criminally Negligent Homicide?
If a person causes the death of another by criminal negligence, they could face charges for Criminally Negligent Homicide. A person is criminally negligent if they should have been aware that their conduct could put another person’s life at a substantial and unjustifiable risk. Therefore, you could be arrested even if you had no intention of killing another person because you behaved in a way that disregarded an unjustifiable risk to another’s life.
What is the punishment for Criminally Negligent Homicide?
Criminally Negligent Homicide is a state jail felony in Texas. The punishment for a state jail felony is a minimum of 180 days in prison and a maximum of two years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.
Also, you can be charged with a third-degree felony if a deadly weapon is used or exhibited during the commission of Criminally Negligent Homicide or immediately after. The punishment for a third-degree felony is 2 to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Examples of Criminally Negligent Homicide
Common examples of acts that might be charged as criminally negligent homicide include:
- Texting a driving that results in the death of a person;
- Firing a weapon in the air;
- Leaving a child in a vehicle; and
- Improperly handling a loaded firearm.
What Are the Other Types of Homicide Offenses?
Murder is intentionally or knowingly causing the death of another; or while intending to cause serious bodily injury, committing an act that causes the death of another, or causing the death of another while in the commission of a felony.
Murder is a first-degree felony in Texas. The punishment for a first-degree felony is a minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of life, and a fine of up to $10,000.
A person commits capital murder if he meets the elements of murder as defined above and there is one of the following aggravating factors:
- The individual killed is a peace officer or fireman in the line of duty, and the person knows the individual is a peace officer or fireman;
- The killing occurs during the commission or attempt of the following felonies: kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat;
- The killing was committed for payment or promise of payment (both the person who kills another and the person who hires a person to kill are guilty of capital murder);
- The killing occurs during the escape, whether successful or not, from a penal institution;
- The individual killed is an employee of a penal institution, and an incarcerated person commits the killing;
- The killing is committed by a person incarcerated for murder or capital murder;
- The killing is made by a person incarcerated for the following aggravated felonies: aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, or aggravated robbery;
- The person kills more than one individual either during the same criminal transaction or during different transactions but under a common scheme;
- The person killed is under 15 years old; or
- The individual killed was a judge or justice, and the killing was committed in retaliation or because of the judge or justice’s service.
The punishment for Capital Murder is life in prison without parole, the death penalty, or life if the person committed capital murder when younger than 18 years old.
Read more here: the difference between murder and capital murder.
A person commits manslaughter if he recklessly causes the death of an individual. Manslaughter is a second-degree felony. The punishment for a second-degree felony is 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
What are the Defenses to Criminally Negligent Homicide?
There are several defenses an experienced Dallas Criminally Negligent Homicide lawyer in Dallas can raise. Of course, the type of defense strategy will depend upon the facts of your case. Some possible defenses could include but are not limited to :
- Defense of others
- Lack of Intent
- Accident or Mistake
- Sudden Passion
Our team of experienced Dallas attorneys will also investigate every aspect of the case, challenging the police investigation, the credibility of the witnesses, and the reliability of the evidence. That is part of our defense strategy for every case. If there is an issue, we will find it.
Another possible defense strategy may be to ask the jury to consider a “lesser” charge. For example, if you are charged with murder and the jury finds you guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, the range of punishment for which you are exposed is significantly reduced. For the best chance of success, you need a skilled Dallas homicide lawyer who understands the intricacies of the law and will leave no stone unturned to find and build the most robust defense possible.
Experienced Dallas Lawyers
Varghese Summersett’s Dallas Criminally Negligent Homicide lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience handling Criminally Negligent Homicide cases. Most of our Dallas criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors skilled in all aspects of investigations, including forensic examinations, toxicological analysis, investigations, underlying motives, defenses, and mitigating factors. We are relentless in the courtroom and will pursue every possible angle to get the best possible outcome for you.
You are more than a client to us. We listen to your story. We will always keep you updated with the latest results in your case and will answer all of your questions. Our goal is to give all of our clients unmatched service.
If you or someone you know has been accused of criminally negligent homicide, you should never leave anything to chance. You need the absolute best team in your corner. Call 214-903-4000 today for a free consultation with an experienced Dallas Criminally Negligent Homicide lawyer. Find out why our experience and credentials set us apart from other North Texas and Dallas Criminally Negligent Homicide Lawyers.