An intoxication manslaughter conviction can mean thousands of dollars in fines and decades or even life in prison. Choosing the right intoxication manslaughter lawyer in Fort Worth to assist you can mean the difference between a future behind bars and a second chance at life.
Call Randall B. Isenberg to get started today: 214-696-9253.
What is intoxication manslaughter?
Intoxication manslaughter, as defined in the Texas Penal Code, occurs when a legally intoxicated person operating a motor vehicle in a public place causes the death of another person, whether by accident or mistake.
Intoxication manslaughter charges apply in the case of a DWI car accident with another vehicle, a single-car accident that results in the death of a passenger in your vehicle, or a collision with a pedestrian or bicyclist.
The statute defines intoxication as a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above or an inability to drive safely due to the consumption of alcohol or a controlled substance.
What penalties might I face for intoxication manslaughter in Texas?
A second-degree felony in Texas, intoxication manslaughter carries the following potential penalties:
- Prison sentence from 2 to 20 years
- Monetary fines of up to $10,000
- Mandatory driver’s license suspension for up to 2 years
- Community service
- Completion of a state alcohol education program
- Installation of ignition interlock devices on all vehicles you own
You will also be responsible for paying court costs and fees and, if applicable, restitution to the victim’s family. You will likely also face probation or parole and periodic alcohol testing after completing your prison sentence.
If any special circumstances accompanied your accident, enhanced charges and penalties may apply. For example, if you had an open container or a passenger under 15 in your car at the time of the incident, if your BAC was above 0.15, or if you have a previous DWI conviction in the past five years, you face longer minimum jail sentences and higher fines.
The most serious enhancement penalty to intoxication manslaughter will apply if the victim of your accident was a peace officer, firefighter, or another type of first responder. In that case, the offense qualifies as a first-degree felony and carries the possibility of life in prison.
What options do I have after being arrested for intoxication manslaughter in Fort Worth?
If you are currently facing intoxication manslaughter charges, your options are to:
- Plead guilty to the charges as filed
- Negotiate for a reduced charge
- Convince the prosecutor to drop the charges
- Fight the charges in court
The most appropriate option in your case will depend on the circumstances of your accident and arrest. However, an attorney from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg will be best prepared to explain your options fully and to help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Remember that, if you plead guilty to intoxication manslaughter, that conviction — and all that comes with it — will haunt you for the rest of your life.
If we can find weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, we may be able to negotiate for a lesser charge or, ideally, a dismissal of your case. If we cannot get the charges dismissed, we will mount a robust trial defense on your behalf.
How can a Fort Worth DWI attorney help fight intoxication manslaughter charges?
In a Texas intoxication manslaughter case, the burden of proof on the prosecution will be very high. Here are some of the potential strategies we might choose when building your defense.
You Were Not Legally Impaired
For the court to find you guilty of DWI manslaughter, you must have caused an accident driving in a public place while statutorily impaired. A positive chemical test does not automatically prove that you were impaired while you were driving.
Specific Evidence Is Inadmissible
The Texas Administrative Code (TAC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) set forth guidelines and regulations for chemical testing in a DWI case. If the arresting officer and the technician who administers your tests did not meet all BAC testing standards and breath alcohol testing regulations, your attorney may successfully petition the court to have that evidence thrown out.
You Were Not at Fault for the Accident
To prove you caused the accident, the prosecution must prove the following:
- You had a duty of care to drive safely.
- You violated your duty by driving while impaired.
- Your intoxication caused the accident in question.
- That accident caused the victim’s death.
Being involved in an accident while intoxicated does not necessarily mean it was your fault.
Your Accident Was Not the Cause of Death
To obtain a DWI manslaughter conviction, the Texas statutes require someone to have died as a result of the accident. Even if the accident was your fault, that does not automatically mean that the accident directly caused the injuries or death of another person.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, we might be able to use these and other strategies to build a case for your defense.
Protect your future. Call Randall B. Isenberg today.
You may feel like giving up hope when facing charges of this magnitude. It is easy to feel as though the world is against you. But this is where an attorney can be especially helpful.
Not only can your DWI lawyer help you through each aspect of the process but he can also provide a crucial level of support at this difficult time.
Do not place your entire future at risk by facing these charges alone. The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg will come to you for a free consultation and case review. Contact us today to speak directly to a Fort Worth intoxication manslaughter lawyer: 214-696-9253.