A Texas intoxication manslaughter conviction means significant fines and a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license. It can also mean decades or even life in prison.
Finding an intoxication manslaughter lawyer in Plano is the most effective way to protect your legal rights. With more than three decades of experience as a senior chief felony prosecutor and State District Trial Judge, attorney Randall Isenberg understands how to mount an aggressive defense on your behalf.
Contact us today at 214-696-9253 to get started on your defense.
When might I face intoxication manslaughter charges?
In Plano, any fatality that results from a drunk driving incident can lead to intoxication manslaughter charges.
The Texas Penal Code defines intoxication manslaughter as an accidental death that results when a legally intoxicated person (a person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above) operates a motor vehicle in a public place. The victim can be a passenger in the drunk driver’s car, in another vehicle on the road, a pedestrian, bicyclist, or innocent bystander.
This law also applies if you were operating a boat while legally intoxicated.
What penalties will I face for intoxication manslaughter?
Under Texas law, intoxication manslaughter carries a second-degree felony charge. Upon conviction, you can expect to face penalties including:
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Up to 20 years in prison (mandatory minimum is 2 years)
- Driver’s license suspension (6 months to 2 years)
- Community service
- Ignition interlock devices on all owned vehicles
- Attendance at an alcohol education program
- Court costs and fees
- Restitution (if applicable)
If you have a previous drunk driving conviction, you face a 1-year minimum driver’s license suspension. If part of your sentence includes parole or probation, the state will require that you submit to regular substance use testing in addition to the other terms of your release.
You can expect to face more serious charges — accompanied by more serious penalties — if any of the following conditions apply to your accident.
- You had a passenger age 14 or under in the vehicle
- Your blood alcohol concentration exceeded 0.15
- You have a DWI, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter conviction in the last five years
- Your victim was a law enforcement officer, EMT, firefighter, etc. (first-degree felony charges)
Can you fight Plano intoxication manslaughter charges?
You can and should consider all your options for fighting a DWI manslaughter charge, unless you are prepared to spend at least two years — and potentially the next two decades — behind bars.
An intoxication manslaughter attorney from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can help you explore your options for fighting the charges pending against you. You and your attorney have three basic options for defending against intoxication manslaughter charges:
- Negotiate with the prosecutor to drop all charges
- Negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea bargain
- Fight your intoxication manslaughter charges in court
Upon conviction, your criminal record will reflect your felony permanently. This means that you will have a difficult time ever obtaining affordable auto insurance or passing a background check for any reason.
Employers and landlords can reject your application based on your felony conviction and you will be ineligible for many types of professional licenses.
No matter what the evidence against you may be, choosing to fight your DWI manslaughter charges is the only way you can hope to avoid the dire consequences of a conviction.
How can an intoxication manslaughter lawyer help you?
Your attorney — especially if you choose a criminal defense lawyer who has insider knowledge of the Texas criminal court system — can evaluate the evidence in your case and identify any potential areas of weakness in the prosecution’s case.
We understand how the prosecution will go about proving its case against you. The burden of proof for intoxication manslaughter is very high, which opens the door for challenging the validity and accuracy of the evidence.
The Role of the BAC Test
Texas law mandates that you cannot refuse a chemical BAC test. However, even though police officers can compel you to submit to chemical testing for intoxication, they cannot violate your constitutional rights or compromise mandated procedures.
So, even if your breathalyzer or blood test indicated impairment above the legal limit, you should never assume this means an automatic conviction. We may argue any one of the following scenarios.
No Probable Cause: If the officer at the scene failed to follow protocol in establishing probable cause, the subsequent BAC evidence may be inadmissible. The officer must have had a legal reason to pull you over and, if he performed field sobriety tests must have complied with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) prescribed methods.
No Fault in the Accident: Even if you drive while intoxicated, we can argue that you were not at fault in the subsequent accident. Although you will likely still face DWI charges, we might make it impossible for the prosecutor to pursue intoxicated manslaughter charges.
The Accident Did Not Cause a Fatality: Under Texas law, intoxication manslaughter charges require that a fatality occurred because of the actions of the drunk driver. If the evidence supports another cause of death, those charges may not apply.
No Legal Impairment: Although BAC testing may indicate impairment at the time of the test, we can argue that the breathalyzer gave a false reading (e.g., can result from certain diets, or using mouthwash).
Invalid BAC Evidence: In performing BAC testing, police officers and BAC test technicians must adhere to both the NHTSA and the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) guidelines for DWI testing. We can petition the court to throw out the evidence if anyone in the chain violated these protocols.
These are just some of the strategies your intoxicated manslaughter lawyer can explore, to help in building a strong case for your defense.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today.
You may never make a decision as important as choosing the right criminal defense lawyer for your DWI manslaughter case.
Because Randall Isenberg has extensive experience working on the other side of process — as both a felony prosecutor and District Court Trial Judge — he understands how the system works and how to put that knowledge to work for you. Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today to schedule a free consultation: 214-696-9253.