Will You Go To Jail After A Fatal Car Accident In El Paso?
David Muñoz | February 24, 2023 | Car Accidents
It’s traumatizing to cause a car accident, especially when someone gets hurt. It’s even worse when someone dies. Through all of the guilt and confusion, it’s normal for people who cause fatal car accidents to wonder if they will go to jail.
In El Paso, Texas, it is possible to go to jail after causing a fatal car crash. However, not every driver who causes a fatal car crash will end up there. It depends on how the crash happened.
Common Causes Of Fatal Car Accidents In El Paso
El Paso is a growing city in Texas with a population of approximately 678,000. Statistics reveal that the development has brought more cars and traffic into the city. That means more car accidents, including fatal ones. In 2021, there were 66 fatal crashes in El Paso, Texas.
There are many different causes of fatal car crashes. However, some common causes include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Inclement weather
Of course, any type of car crash can become fatal under the right conditions, and just because a car crash is fatal doesn’t mean it was your fault.
You may have heard the term manslaughter. Manslaughter is when a person recklessly causes the death of an individual. Manslaughter is different from murder because it is not intentional. Instead, your reckless behavior caused someone else to die.
Reckless behavior is a conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk. It is a higher standard than negligence, which is mere carelessness.
If you cause a fatal car crash while driving recklessly, you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. This is a second-degree felony in El Paso. If you are convicted, you will receive a minimum of two years and up to twenty years in prison. You can also be fined up to $10,000.
If you were drunk when you caused the accident, you can be charged with intoxication manslaughter. You can be convicted of intoxication manslaughter if you drive a car while drunk and cause an accident that kills someone.
Texas law defines intoxication as either having a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher or not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties because of alcohol. Examples include slurring words, stumbling, slowed response time, and blurred vision.
Intoxication manslaughter is also a second-degree felony. However, if you killed an emergency medical services person, firefighter, or peace officer, it can be a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony carries a prison sentence of five years to life.
Sometimes people race their cars on the highway. This is dangerous because the cars become uncontrollable at such high rates of speed. Racing can cause fatal accidents and is illegal in Texas. You could be charged with vehicular manslaughter if you caused a deadly accident while racing.
Criminally Negligent Homicide
If the court determines that you were negligent, and not reckless, when you caused the fatal crash, then you can be charged with criminally negligent homicide.
Criminal negligence is a gross deviation from the standard of care. Such that you should have known that your behavior was a substantial and unjustifiable risk to others. This is different from recklessness which requires you to consciously disregard a known risk. In general, negligence is easier to prove than recklessness.
If you are convicted of criminally negligent homicide, you can expect to receive between 180 days and two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000. This is different from a second-degree felony, where you are sent to prison.
Contact an El Paso Lawyer For Help After a Car Accident
If you caused a car accident, you may be facing civil and criminal consequences. You should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible for help with your case. Your attorney can explain your options and protect your rights.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in San Diego or Chula Vista, please call Mission Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer or contact us online.
We proudly serve San Diego County and throughout California.
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – Chula Vista Office
690 Otay Lakes Rd #130, Chula Vista, CA 91910
We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – El Paso Office
201 E Main Suite 106, El Paso, Texas 79901