In Texas, it is a crime to cause the death of another by criminal negligence. Criminal negligence is legally viewed as something more than ordinary negligence where a person does something an ordinary person would not do. Criminal negligence involves doing something that is a “gross deviation” from what an ordinary person would do under the circumstances. The problem is that there is no clear line as to what is “doing something different” versus a “gross deviation.” What’s worse is that law enforcement and prosecutors are pushing more and more to say that something as simple as running a stop light or failing to watch out for other vehicles on the road is enough to be considered criminally negligent.
Watch Brent Mayr talk about criminal negligence in this news story featured on Houston’s ABC13 with investigative reporter, Ted Oberg.
A person can find themselves investigated, charged with, and prosecuted for Criminally Negligent Homicide even if they are not drinking and driving. All it takes is one negligent act – talking or texting on a cell phone, playing with the radio, putting makeup on, and running a stop sign, speeding, failing to keep a proper lookout for other vehicles on the road – and you can find yourself not just charged with any crime, but a felony offense. At that time the person arrested for Criminal Negligence, whether it is in Houston, Montgomery County, or anywhere else in Texas, should look for an expert Texas criminal defense attorney. Criminally Negligent Homicide is considered a fourth degree felony which carries a punishment of anywhere from 180 days to 2 years in a state jail facility.
Law enforcement and prosecutors will then, in addition to charging a person with this offense, allege that a deadly weapon was used: not a gun, not a knife, but the car or truck the person was driving. By doing this, it becomes a third degree felony and the possible punishment is increased to 2 to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Even worse, it prohibits a judge from giving the person probation.
This is one of the most frightening experiences a person can find themselves in. You may think, “I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t doing anything bad,” but you can still find yourself arrested and charged with felony criminal negligence in Texas if law enforcement even suspects that you are at fault in causing an accident where someone is killed. For that reason, you need someone with the skill, knowledge, and experience to deal with these types of specialized offenses. Board Certified Montgomery County Criminal Attorney Brent Mayr can provide you with that.