Is Texting Another Person to Commit Suicide a Crime in TX?
From “Why don’t you drop dead?” to “Just pull the trigger already,” these statements may seem like jokes to close friends and family members. However, when taken out of context, they appear to be quite alarming. This is also true when one person is attempting to help someone going through an emotional or mental health issue.
In 2017, Michelle Carter from Massachusetts was charged texting her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, dozens of messages that encouraged him to take his own life. Roy eventually killed himself by filling his car up with carbon monoxide, while Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 months in jail.
Aiding a Suicide in Texas
According to Texas law, the crime of aiding another in suicide is defined as intentionally assisting or promoting the commission of suicide by another individual or attempting to do so. The crime is considered a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum $500 fine—with no jail time.
However, if the suicide or attempted suicide results in a serious injury, the charge will be elevated to a state jail felony, punishable by a maximum two-year prison sentence and a fine not exceeding $10,000. If the crime leads to death, manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony in Texas, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.
Common defenses to assisting suicide changes include:
- You did not intentionally assist the person to end their own life.
- The person who committed suicide did so on accident.
- Others falsely accused you of assisting a suicide
- You only discussed the topic of suicide, rather than provide any directions to do so.