A DWI conviction comes with severe punishment and fines, even without accidents. But if you cause the death of another by operating a motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated, you could be charged with intoxication manslaughter. Being convicted of this offense can destroy your life. You may face many penalties, including steep fines, a lengthy prison term, and even losing driving privileges.
If you are arrested with intoxication manslaughter, our criminal defense firm’s Hurst, TX intoxication manslaughter lawyer is here to provide you with aggressive representation. The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg will examine the evidence and formulate the most effective defense strategies to get your criminal charges dismissed or reduced.
Defining Intoxication Manslaughter
Texas Penal Code § 49.08 defines intoxication manslaughter as a crime in which an intoxicated person operating a motor vehicle, air or watercraft, or an amusement park ride causes a collision resulting in someone’s death.
Here’s a brief overview of the critical elements that characterize an intoxication manslaughter case:
- Death: You can only be arrested for intoxication manslaughter if the accident results in someone’s death, whether right away or succumbing to their fatal injuries later.
- Intoxication: In Texas, you are legally intoxicated if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level reaches or exceeds 0.08. This holds true even if you don’t feel impaired. Besides alcohol, drugs and prescription medications can also cause intoxication.
- Vehicle: A vehicle in this statute could refer to a car, truck, motorcycle, boat, plane, or amusement park ride.
- Intoxication results in a fatal accident: The prosecutor must prove that your intoxication, and not another factor, caused the crash which killed the victim.
For a successful conviction, the onus is on the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the intoxicated person was responsible for someone’s death. They must also prove that the victims lost their lives from injuries sustained in the fatal accident.
Our intoxication manslaughter lawyer can question the veracity of test results, use alternate logical explanations to rebut observations made by officers, and point out shortcomings in the administration of chemical tests.
Intoxication Manslaughter Comes with Strong Penalties in Texas
As a second-degree felony, those convicted of this crime can face jail time between two to 20 years in the Texas Department of Corrections. The person can also be cited for a fine of up to $10,000, mandatory community service for at least 240 hours, and a driver’s license suspension for 180 days to two years.
But if multiple people die in accidents, the penalties will increase. For example, if four people were killed, the judge may sentence you to 14 years for each count, which will stack up to 56 years in prison.
If certain variables are present, your intoxication manslaughter charge may escalate to a first-degree felony, which carries a lifetime imprisonment potential. These variables include:
- Prior DWI, manslaughter, or intoxication manslaughter conviction
- BAC level of 0.15 or higher
- The victim was a police officer or a first responder
- There was a child present in the vehicle
- There was an open container with alcohol present in the vehicle
Beyond jail time, fines, court fees, and community service hours, felons continue to face difficulty finding gainful employment, accommodation, and financial assistance through loans and certain government benefits in the aftermath of a conviction.
Your Attorney Will Use These Possible Defenses to Fight Your Charges
Those accused of intoxication manslaughter may think they’re guilty the moment they’re arrested. But this isn’t true — just like with any other crime, you are innocent until proven guilty, and our firm can preserve your innocence.
Once our intoxication manslaughter attorney investigates your case and reviews all the available information, we will evaluate which legal defense will be applicable and most effective to obtain the best outcome for you.
- The victim did not follow traffic rules: We will scrutinize the collision report to see if the deceased driver might have been at fault for the accident. For example, speeding, running a red light, driving at night without lights on, and improperly merging into traffic are some negligent actions that could result in a crash. We will work with accident reconstruction experts to see if this could be a viable defense in your case.
- Involuntary intoxication: Another possible defense that could apply would be if the at-fault driver were involuntarily intoxicated. i.e., they were drugged without knowledge and proceeded to operate a vehicle without knowing they were intoxicated.
- Disprove intoxication: Know that all available processes and tools for measuring intoxication have room for error. Breath and blood tests can be unreliable and vulnerable to human error. Field sobriety tests, if administered improperly, can provide inaccurate results. Depending on the circumstances of your case, our attorney may challenge the results.
- Constitutional rights were violated: Any evidence obtained against you unlawfully will be inadmissible in court. For example, the fourth amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizure, and the fifth amendment grants you the right to remain silent as anything you say could be used against you. Our attorney will carefully examine what happened during your traffic stop and review any footage available to see if the police officer violated any of your rights.
Whichever defense we use, our primary goal will always be to obtain the not guilty verdict for you. If impossible, we will fight to get your sentence reduced.
Hurst Intoxication Manslaughter Lawyer Near Me (214) 696-9253
Let Our Hurst, TX Intoxication Manslaughter Lawyer Fight for Your Acquittal
Just because you’re arrested for an intoxication manslaughter charge doesn’t mean you’re guilty of the offense. But if you’re facing such a charge, do not take chances with your freedom. Reach out to our firm serving Tarrant County immediately.
The legal counsel at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg is here to fight your charges and shield your rights and future. Over a free consultation, one of our team members will discuss the case’s details and advise you of the best defense plan and what legal options you have available.