A person who causes a fatal car accident while drunk behind the wheel in Texas will most likely be charged with the felony crime of intoxication manslaughter. In other states or in certain legal texts, this crime may be titled driving while intoxicated (DWI) manslaughter instead, but the underlying definitions are the same. Intoxication manslaughter can also apply to drivers who inadvertently cause the death of another driver or passenger while they are impaired by drugs of any kind.
Even though manslaughter is always viewed as a killing without malicious intent or any forethought, Texas still uses extreme penalties to punish those convicted of this crime. The penalties are a prime example of “deterrent penalties,” which are intentionally steep to not only punish the offender but also to try to deter other people from committing the same crime. In terms of intoxication manslaughter, the criminal justice system aims to deter people from drinking and driving.
As a second-degree felony in Texas, intoxication manslaughter can be penalized with:
- Up to 20 years imprisonment with two-year minimum sentencing
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Community service between 240 and 800 hours
- License suspension between 180 days and two years
- 120 days in jail as a condition of probation
Due to the seriousness of the circumstances surrounding an intoxication manslaughter case, the prosecution generally does not like to back down or accept plea deals. It oftentimes intends to make an example of the alleged offender and will press the case to litigation, if necessary. Anyone who has been charged with intoxication manslaughter in Texas must depend on a criminal defense lawyer who is not afraid to go to court and fight for their rights.
A DWI Defense Attorney Invested in Your Future
At Tyler Flood & Associates, we know three things: everyone can make a mistake, charges can be based on exaggerations and falsities, and the criminal justice system of Texas must be kept honest and in check. Our knowledge, experience, and principles have placed us ahead of the curve when it comes to DWI defense in Houston and throughout the state, and our dedication and focus have kept us there. Call (713) 497-1223 to learn more about our team, your rights as someone accused of intoxication manslaughter, and how to begin building an effective defense case during a FREE case evaluation. You can also fill out an online contact form if you prefer.