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Intoxication Manslaughter is a DWI-related homicide offense that will result in felony charges in Texas. In general, courts and jurors frown on people who drive drunk. The stakes are higher if a person dies as a result of an auto accident caused by a motorist that’s driving while intoxicated.
Our law firm has helped numerous individuals charged with Intoxication Manslaughter, and we’ve won in a few of those cases.
Just because a person was charged with DWI manslaughter doesn’t mean they’re guilty. Furthermore, an arrest doesn’t imply an open and shut case for the District Attorney’s Office.
The need for competent criminal defense counsel is paramount when dealing with a criminal offense of this magnitude in Texas. If you’re seeking legal representation for a DWI manslaughter case, contact Attorney Tad Nelson in Galveston by calling 409-767-6006.
About Intoxicated Manslaughter Offenses
Texas law defines intoxication manslaughter as knowingly operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated on alcohol, drugs, or a combination of substances and causing the death of another person as a result of driving while impaired. We’ve added the exact wording of the law below.
Sec. 49.08. INTOXICATION MANSLAUGHTER. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) operates a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride; and
(2) is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.
(b) Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.
Potential Criminal Penalties
Criminal Classification: Felony of the Second Degree
Fine: Up to 10,000.00
Jail Time: 2 to 20 Years with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
Other Penalties: Texas Driver License Suspension (180 days to 2 years), Community Service (160-600 Hours or More), Ignition Anti-Alcohol Device/Deep Lung BIO-Technical Chemical Analysis Device (Ignition Interlock Device).
Special Note: Although Intoxication Manslaughter is classified as a 2nd Degree Felony in the Texas Penal Code, it’s not uncommon for prosecutors to seek felony murder charges on defendants in these cases. Also, habitual DWI offenders who are charged with Intoxication Manslaughter could also be charged with felony murder.
Convictions under these circumstances often far exceed the 20-year maximum prescribed by 2nd Degree Felony guidelines. We’ve seen some habitual DWI offenders and people found guilty of intoxication manslaughter get extreme sentences reaching up to life in prison.
Potential Defenses for Intoxication Manslaughter
The Accused Party Didn’t Cause the Accident
Although the accused party was driving while intoxicated, if they’re not the cause of the accident, then the defendant can’t be convicted. For example, a person left a party after consuming alcoholic beverages.
However, a sober person blew through a stop sign, hit the defendant’s vehicle, and a person died as a result. If the defendant’s lawyer can prove the deadly accident wasn’t his client’s fault, the case should be dismissed.
The Accused Party Wasn’t Knowingly Intoxicated
It is a defense that the accused party wasn’t knowingly intoxicated. An example of this situation could be leaving a restaurant after consuming various foods and drinks yet unknowingly becoming intoxicated. Remember, alcohol is tasteless and odorless. So a person could become intoxicated without their knowledge.
The same applies to controlled substances. If someone slipped you a mickey and you weren’t aware, you’re unknowingly intoxicated. If a deadly vehicle accident occurs, this would be an approved defense.
The Accused Party Wasn’t Intoxicated
In order to gain a conviction for intoxication manslaughter in Texas, the prosecution must prove the defendant was intoxicated at the “time of driving.” The time of driving rule means that the state must prove the defendant was intoxicated at the time they were driving.
If we can create reasonable doubt that the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the incident, the state must dismiss the criminal charges.
Facing Criminal Charges for DWI Manslaughter?
Call Tad! Whether Guilty or Innocent, We Can Help.
When a person is accused of a crime that causes as much public outcry as Intoxication Manslaughter, the presumption of innocence, as demanded by law, often-times falls by the wayside. When accounting for public outcry, persecution by the media, and the families affected by this type of incident, it’s understandable, but it’s illegal.
The Law Demands the Presumption of Innocence.
Galveston DWI Lawyer Tad Nelson will explain to the jury how to embrace the concept of the presumption of innocence and what it means to our society to avoid sacrilege of the concept.
Entering A Guilty Plea
If you intend to enter a guilty plea, Attorney Tad Nelson may be able to convince a Galveston County jury to award you with probation. If we get this done, you’ll be required to serve 120 days in jail. Afterward, a strict probation agreement will be required.
Entering A Not Guilty Plea
There’s also the possibility of taking another route; pursuing of a NOT GUILTY verdict.
Depending on the evidence, witnesses, scientific data, adherence to evidence collection protocol by police or lack thereof, and the details of the case, we may have grounds to mount an argument advocating your innocence.
This strategy could result in a Not Guilty finding, case dismissal, a criminal charge reduction, or another agreement to resolve the matter. Every DWI case is different.
If you’re ready to meet with a lawyer regarding criminal charges for intoxication manslaughter or another criminal offense, call us. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 409-904-0075 or by using our law firm contact form.