If you have been arrested and charged with intoxication assault, you need the help of a lawyer who can design a plan to safeguard your freedom and criminal record. For example, if you were drinking and driving, involved in an auto accident, and someone was seriously injured, you could be facing intoxication assault charges.
When you contact a Keller intoxication assault lawyer at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, you will speak to an attorney who understands the legal strategies needed to defend you against severe felony charges. We are dedicated to upholding our clients’ rights and will fight tirelessly to achieve the most favorable results possible.
What is Intoxication Assault?
Texas law defines intoxication assault as the commission of an offense when the alleged offender, while intoxicated, operates “an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride” or “a motor vehicle in a public place” and because of their intoxication, they cause “serious bodily injury” to another person. The injuries may have been inflicted deliberately, unintentionally, or by accident.
Intoxication assault charges start as 3rd-degree felonies but can be enhanced, depending on the nature of injuries and who was harmed. For example, the offense is increased to a 2nd-degree felony if the victim’s injuries result in a vegetative state.
The offense also becomes a 2nd-degree felony when the injury occurs to a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical technician in the line of duty.
DWI vs. Intoxication Assault
A DWI (driving while intoxicated) and intoxication assault are two distinct charges that come with separate punishments. These charges require that an offender must have been operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated to be proven. In addition, an intoxication assault conviction requires one more element to be present—that these circumstances led to the serious bodily injury being inflicted on another person.
Like a DWI, a suspect must submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. Failure or refusal to do so will impact driving privileges. If you have been charged with DWI, intoxication assault, or both, requesting an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing is likely in your best interest.
What is an ALR Hearing?
An ALR hearing is a civil procedure where the Department of Public Safety (DPS) seeks to suspend your driver’s license and driving privileges. The hearing is not part of a pending criminal DWI case and must be requested within 15 days of your arrest. If you fail to do so, your driver’s license will be suspended for up to 180 days.
A license suspension is initiated if you are arrested for DWI and (1) register a .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) on a breathalyzer or (2) refuse to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test when requested. Your attorney can contest the suspension by subpoenaing the arresting officer(s) and cross-examining them during an ALR.
You are not legally required to attend this hearing, and if you do, you could be called to testify by the prosecution, risking self-incrimination. You should leave this task to your attorney to preserve any driving privileges that they can.
Causation in Intoxication Assault Cases
A jury can hand down an intoxication assault conviction only if they believe the prosecution proved a direct, causal link between the defendant’s actions (intoxicated driving) and the injuries another person sustained. So, if the accident was proven to be another driver’s fault, there should not be a conviction.
Regarding causation, juries must consider if the injuries in question would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s actions. Moreover, if some external factor aside from the defendant’s intoxication caused the injuries independently, this is strong evidence the defendant should not be held responsible.
Defenses of Intoxication Assault
A potent defense approach needs to be based on the law’s facts, evidence, and interpretation. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, and the defense’s job is to plant enough doubt in the jurors’ minds that they will not come back with a guilty verdict.
A lawyer with experience handling drinking and driving cases will know how to attack the State’s evidence and arguments. A solid defense is multi-faceted and may include the following strategies:
Challenging Administration and Results of a BAC Test
If a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence, implied consent requires you to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. A defense lawyer can compel an expert to analyze the test results and potentially identify flaws associated with the procedures or results. Your lawyer will use this information to have the tests excluded as evidence.
Unfulfillment of the Offense’s Required Elements
Certain elements are required to convict a person of intoxication assault. If the defendant was driving in a public place, these elements are relatively easy to demonstrate. However, proving the defendant was intoxicated and was the direct cause of the accident may be more challenging for the prosecution to establish.
Individuals can be intoxicated if they achieve a BAC at or above 0.08% or fail a field sobriety test (FST). To undermine a prosecutor’s intoxication allegation, your lawyer can attempt to throw doubt on the validity of the breathalyzer or blood test results. FSTs can also be contested and suppressed as evidence due to their subjective nature. No universal pass/fail standard applies to everyone equally when undergoing an FST.
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Regarding causation, your attorney may locate a crime scene investigation expert to examine or reconstruct the accident scene. Many things could have contributed to the accident, including vehicle defects and poor road or weather conditions. Or, an argument could be made that the other driver was partially or solely at fault. Your attorney will analyze the accident’s circumstances to build your defense and identify cracks in the prosecution’s case.
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Other Strategies: Making Motions and Identifying Officer Violations
At some point, your lawyer should also attempt to dismiss the case or suppress or exclude evidence before trial. These motions can be used strategically to persuade the prosecutor to negotiate on the charges or dismiss the case entirely.
Also, after reviewing your case and examining how the State’s evidence was obtained, your attorney will determine if the arresting officer(s) could be guilty of constitutional violations, such as false arrest or excessive force.
Contact a Keller Intoxication Assault Attorney Today
An effective defense largely depends on whether you have a lawyer with a thorough understanding of drinking and driving laws. If you have been charged with intoxication assault, a Keller intoxication assault lawyer from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg will approach your defense from all angles possible and strive to achieve the best outcome.
Call or text (214) 696-9253 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form