Defined under Texas Penal Code Section 49.07, intoxication assault is an offense committed by a person who operates a vehicle in a public place while intoxicated and causes serious bodily injury to another person while driving under the influence.
If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with intoxication assault, you are probably worried about what you can do and who can help you. It is important to remember during this difficult time that you have the right to legal representation, so it can be beneficial to consult with a defense lawyer to determine if and how you can challenge the charges and mitigate the consequences of the allegations against you.
It should also be noted that acting quickly in seeking legal advice is essential. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, you only have 15 days to request an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing, in which your attorney can negotiate on your behalf. This is a separate civil proceeding in addition to the criminal charges.
If successful, you will probably retain your license. Additionally, the hearing serves as an opportunity to learn more about the prosecution’s case against you, and the evidence they have.
Penalties and Charges for Intoxication Assault
Texas law takes a hard line when it comes to penalties and fines for intoxication assault, which can result in a felony conviction. The consequences of having a permanent criminal record can harm your future and adversely affect employment, housing, and voting opportunities.
To reach a conviction, the prosecution must be able to prove:
- The driver was intoxicated; and
- The driver caused an accident; and
- Another person sustained a serious bodily injury resulting from the intoxication
Serious bodily injury is defined legally under the Texas Penal Code as “injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” Many types of injuries qualify as serious under the state’s definition and can range from traumatic brain injury to a few broken bones.
Intoxication assault is classed as a third-degree felony. Penalties for third-degree felony charges carry a maximum jail sentence of 10 years and substantial fines. Further, the charge may be enhanced to a second-degree felony, depending on who is injured and the gravity of the damage inflicted. Enhanced charges result in harsher penalties and fines imposed.
In light of the gravity of the circumstances, you may want to look for a lawyer with a strong focus on criminal defense who can advocate for you in pre-trial and trial negotiations, and who can represent you in the civil proceedings during the ALR hearing as well.
Possible Defenses for Intoxication Assault Charges
For a successful conviction, the burden of proof lies with the state. Your defense lawyer may be able to devise a potential strategy on your behalf and provide you with a persuasive case that challenges the evidence the state has against you if any inconsistencies are found in the evidence brought against you, which could indicate:
- Protocols were not followed correctly during the arrest
- There were errors with the field sobriety tests
- The results of the chemical test were inaccurate
- You were not intoxicated at the time of the accident
Many other defenses may be suitable for your circumstances, but the law involved in such cases is immeasurably complex. With such severe and limiting implications for your future, you may want to do some research beforehand to ensure your chosen legal representation can serve your best interests. Promising markers include:
- An excellent standing with the State Bar of Texas and other professional agencies
- Significant experience in defending intoxication assault charges
- Proven results in having charges lessened or dismissed
- Comprehensive procedures for investigations into the evidence against you
- Positive client testimonials readily available from similar cases
If you would like to know more about what an intoxication assault charge could mean for your future and your options for mitigating the allegations against you, talk with a legal professional. Many law firms offer a free initial consultation to hear your case and advise you on the legal options available.
Critical Matters and Proven Results
If you want to find out about how the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg could help you reduce your felony DWI or intoxication assault charges, or fight for acquittal, speak to us today in a free case evaluation.
Founding partner Randy Isenberg has over 30 years’ experience working as a former Prosecutor and State District Judge, imparting his knowledge onto our team that has helped many people in your situation to move beyond a DWI arrest or conviction. We are here to help you, too. Call us today at (214) 696-9253.