If you caused an accident while intoxicated that led to the death of another person, you may be charged under Texas Penal Code Section 49.08, Intoxication Manslaughter. This crime is a second-degree felony. If you are facing charges of intoxication manslaughter, contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to learn more about your legal options: (214) 696-9253.
Texas Intoxication Manslaughter
A driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge in Texas is a serious offense. However, if your intoxication caused the death of another person, you may be facing an additional charge of intoxication manslaughter, under Texas Penal Code Section 49.08, Intoxication Manslaughter. According to Texas Penal Code Section 49.01, “intoxication” is defined as a person who either:
- Does not have normal use of their faculties (either mental or physical) due to alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two
- Has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more
An intoxication manslaughter charge is different than a murder charge because there is no intent to cause death. Intoxication manslaughter does not require that a defendant had any intention of killing anyone; rather it requires that someone died due to a DWI accident the defendant caused.
It is important to note that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the intoxication of the defendant was the direct cause of the accident and death.
Penalties for Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas
Intoxication manslaughter in Texas is considered to be a felony in the second-degree. Texas Penal Code Section 12.33 states that the consequence of an intoxication manslaughter conviction can include:
- Prison or jail sentence up from 2 to 20 years
- Fine up to $10,000
It is important to note that each charge of intoxication manslaughter applies to only one victim. Therefore, if there are multiple victims related to the intoxication accident, there will be multiple charges of intoxication manslaughter as well. Each penalty for intoxication manslaughter can be combined.
Note: If the victim was a first responder, you may face first-degree felony charges. Penalties can include life in prison.
New Fines as of September 1, 2019, for Intoxication Manslaughter
Effective Sept. 1, 2019, additional fees were required to be imposed according to HB 2048 established by the 86th Texas Legislative Session. The new fines are for all offenses in the state of Texas relating to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The new fines range from a minimum of $3,000 to $6,000 as indicated below:
- $3,000 for a first conviction within a 36-month period
- $4,500 for a second or subsequent conviction within a 36-month period
- $6,000 for a first or subsequent conviction if it is shown at trial that the person had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher
These new fines show how serious the Texas legislature takes any operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg for more information regarding these new laws at (214) 696-9253.
Defenses for Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas
Texas Penal Code Section 49.08, Intoxication manslaughter is considered in legal terms to be a “strict liability offense.” This means that even if there was an accident or mistake, and no intent was found, a person is still guilty of this offense if a person died. Therefore, the most common defense is establishing that the person was not intoxicated at the time the accident occurred.
As previously stated, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the intoxication of the defendant was the direct cause of the accident, which caused the death. A criminal defense attorney should investigate the accident fully and determine if this element could in any way be in dispute. If there is insufficient evidence to prove that the intoxication of the driver caused the accident which led to a death, then the charge of intoxication manslaughter under Texas Penal Code Section 49.08 should be dropped.
Speak With a Criminal Lawyer Who Can Defend You Against an Intoxication Manslaughter Charge
If you have been arrested or charged with Texas Penal Code Section 49.08, Intoxication Manslaughter charge in the state of Texas, you want someone to represent you in your defense that was a former state judge and prosecutor and knows Texas laws. A criminal defense attorney can explain your rights, build your case, and help you understand your legal options. Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg for more information and for a free consultation regarding your intoxication manslaughter charge today at (214) 696-9253.