Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter

Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter


If you were drinking and driving and caused injury or death to another person, you may be charged with intoxication assault or manslaughter. Intoxication assault and manslaughter are vigorously prosecuted, and law enforcement often presumes that the accident was caused by the person who was drinking. Defending these charges requires the knowledge and skill of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What is Intoxication Assault in Texas?

An individual commits intoxicated assault if he causes serious bodily injury to another because he was intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. A person is intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more or if they do not have the normal use of their mental and physical facilities because they consumed alcohol or another controlled substance.

Serious bodily injury is any 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. The charges could also increase if the victim suffered a traumatic brain injury that results in a persistent vegetative state.

What are the Penalties for Intoxication Assault in Texas?

Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony. It is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Additionally, a convicted individual could face a driver’s license suspension, community service, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, counseling, and the installation of an ignition interlock device.

If the victim is an on-duty firefighter, police officer, or emergency medical personnel, the crime can be elevated to a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

What is Intoxication Manslaughter?

An individual commits intoxication manslaughter if he is intoxicated and causes the death of another by accident or mistake as a result of his intoxication.

What are the Penalties for Intoxication Manslaughter?

Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony. It is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

If an on-duty police officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel worker is killed, the crime is a first-degree felony. It is punishable by up to life imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

Criminal Defense for Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter

If you are charged with intoxication assault or manslaughter, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were intoxicated and that your intoxication caused the injury or death of another. To build a strong defense, a skilled criminal defense attorney will complete a thorough investigation of the accident. The defense attorney will obtain and review police reports, medical reports, and identify and interview witnesses.

The defense depends on the unique facts of each case, but there are three primary defenses that your criminal defense attorney may pursue: 1) the defendant the was intoxicated, 2) the accident was not the result of the defendant’s intoxication, and 3) there was no serious bodily injury.

You cannot be convicted if the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were intoxicated. An experienced criminal defense attorney will challenge the sobriety field tests, breathalyzer tests, and blood tests. Tests that are not administered in accordance with correct procedures can be challenged. The prosecution must show that the test samples were not tainted or tampered with. Additionally, underlying medical conditions and the calibration of the machines can affect the validity of the tests.  

Even if it is established that you were intoxicated, the prosecution must prove that your intoxication was the cause of the individual’s injury or death. You should find a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in accident reconstruction and understands how to use the evidence in the photos and on the ground to demonstrate how physics of the circumstances tell the story. Law enforcement will often jump to the conclusion that the intoxicated driver caused the accident without fully examining all the evidence. For example, the victim may have run a stop sign or traffic signal.

Finally, your defense attorney may challenge the validity of the victim’s alleged injuries. The medical records should be thoroughly reviewed and challenged if unsubstantiated. Even if the victim was injured, it might not rise to the level of “serious bodily injury.”

Speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of intoxication assault or manslaughter, you should not delay in reaching out to a local criminal defense attorney. Philip D. Ray is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor based in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area who will provide you with an aggressive defense. Call The Law Offices of Philip D. Ray at (469) 588-6770 for a consultation.