Chuck Lanehart Secures Probation for Client Guilty of Manslaughter

Intoxication Manslaughter is a second degree felony in the State of Texas. Typical penalties can range from two to twenty years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Earlier this week, Chuck Lanehart’s client started serving ten years of probation. She must also serve six months of shock jail time following a drunk driving crash that killed 30 year old Maggie Davidson southwest of downtown Lubbock.

The probation or community supervision was part of a plea deal, where Lanehart’s client pleaded guilty to a count of manslaughter. The drunk driving accident happened in February of 2017 and was decided by a grand jury in June of 2017.

Lanehart was interviewed by the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, where he described the case as a tragedy. “It’s a good lesson that nothing good happens after midnight on the streets,” he said.

Plea Bargaining in Texas Criminal Cases

While a tragedy for both families, this criminal case highlights the benefits of plea bargaining. The process involves negotiations between prosecution and defense attorneys. Many factors can influence the terms of a plea deal and whether it is accepted by either side. Not every criminal defendant benefits from accepting a plea deal, some cases are better decided by a jury at trial.

The primary benefits of plea bargaining is to avoid a criminal trial. This can provide closure to victims and families and allows defendants to start serving a sentence. When someone is charged with a serious crime such as manslaughter, lives on both sides are changed. For criminal defendants, these cases are resolved faster and tend to deliver reduced time and punishments.

For a client charged with manslaughter that caused the death of a young person, a jury could convict and deliver a harsh sentence. For prosecution, a defendant that agrees to plead guilty to reduced charges avoids a trial. As a result, evidence needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a client is guilty is no longer needed. Both parties can benefit from plea bargaining, an important component to our criminal justice system.

Work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who is able to negotiate an effective plea deal. Chappell, Lanehart & Stangl have a history of securing probation for clients and terms that are favorable.

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