Intoxication manslaughter occurs when a person causes the death of another person by accident or mistake as a result of being intoxicated behind the wheel.
Intoxication manslaughter can result in jail time, fines, and other harsh penalties. Do not leave your fate to chance. Call an intoxication manslaughter lawyer in Dallas from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today.
What Is “Legal Intoxication” in Texas?
You are legally intoxicated in Texas if your alcohol concentration is 0.08 or greater. You can also be legally intoxicated if a substance you ingested causes you to not have normal use of your mental or physical faculties at the time of the incident.
What Substances Count for the Purposes of Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas?
Alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter drugs are all considered drugs for the purposes of intoxication manslaughter charges in Texas. If any of these substances impaired your ability to operate your vehicle safely and led to the accident and death of the victim, you can face intoxication manslaughter charges.
What Are the Penalties for Intoxication Manslaughter?
Per Texas Penal Code § 12.01, intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony, which carries:
- License suspension for a minimum of 180 days, maximum of 2 years
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Jail time of at least 2 years, up to 20 years.
If more than one person died in the accident, you will likely face multiple counts. For example, if three people died in the accident, you could face up to 60 years in jail.
Under certain circumstances, you might also face enhanced offenses and penalties.
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When Might I Face Enhanced Penalties for Intoxication Manslaughter?
The state will increase your intoxication manslaughter from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony if one of the persons killed was a first responder, e.g., a peace officer, a firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel, who was acting “in the actual discharge of an official duty.”
First-degree felonies in Texas carry the possibility of:
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Up to life in prison (at least 5 years and up to 99 years)
You can also face other charges if another person was injured in the accident or if there was a minor (i.e., someone under 15) in your car.
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What Can a Dallas Intoxication Manslaughter Lawyer Do for My Case?
If you have been charged with Intoxication Manslaughter, you are facing the likelihood of many long years in prison, as well as steep fines. You are facing the very real possibility of being convicted of a felony, which can destroy your career and your ability to work at a good job for the rest of your life.
At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we will carefully investigate your case to find any possible defenses against the charges. We will explore every reasonable opportunity to cast doubt on the elements of the charge of intoxication manslaughter. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we might:
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Get the Sobriety Test Results Thrown Out
We will see if there were any irregularities in the accident investigation. These irregularities might include:
- Improper breathalyzer calibration or maintenance (The calibration for a breathalyzer must be exact or the results could be off. In addition, breathalyzers require regular calibration. If officers had not recently calibrated the breathalyzer used in your case, the results might be inaccurate and inadmissible.)
- Untrained personnel calibrating the equipment (Officers must receive proper training before calibrating breathalyzers.)
- Broken chain of command (e.g., if officers did not follow the proper chain of command when handling the evidence in your case, we can ask the judge to rule it inadmissible. If this occurs, the prosecution will have a hard time proving without a reasonable doubt that the accident resulted from your intoxication.)
We will also fight any field sobriety tests results as they rely on an officer’s judgment and are, therefore, totally subjective.
There are several situations that might delegitimize your conviction. Our skilled Dallas drug crime lawyers can review the details of the conviction and accident investigation to ensure your rights are being upheld.
Argue That the Accident or Death Did Not Result drom Intoxication
To convict you of intoxication manslaughter, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that intoxication led to the accident. If we can prove that the accident resulted from something else (e.g., another driver swerved into your lane, the other driver caused the accident by cutting you off), we might be able to get your charges reduced to a simple DWI charge.
We might also be able to prove that the death was unrelated to the accident (e.g., the victim had a heart attack after the accident occurred). If so, we might be able to get the prosecution to reduce your charges.
To determine exactly how the accident happened, we will speak with any eyewitnesses to the accident and work with accident reconstruction experts.
Protect Your Future. Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg.
An intoxication manslaughter charge can put you in jail for life. You need the help of a Dallas DWI lawyer who has experience on both sides of the courtroom. Randall B. Isenberg is a former State District Trial Judge and Senior Chief Felony Prosecutor. As such, he has insider knowledge of how the prosecution will approach your case and how hard they will pursue a conviction.
Randall knows what you have at stake and will do whatever he can to protect you from intoxication manslaughter charges. He will use his insider knowledge to create defenses against the prosecution’s case and get you a fair trial. Call us today to set up your free consultation to discuss your case.