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Intoxication Manslaughter

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can lead to distressing events. If your intoxicated driving lead to another person’s death, you may be charged with intoxication manslaughter. Texas has stiff penalties for intoxication manslaughter including prison time.

Have you caused the death of another person because of your DWI? If so, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Although you would never take another person’s life intentionally, the Texas courts can be unforgiving. Don’t go into this situation without knowing all of the facts. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today.

Attorney for Intoxication Manslaughter in Houston

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) released a 2017 report stating that 1,024 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents. This high number of victims has resulted in Texas imposing strict DWI laws. If another person died because of your DWI, the penalties are enhanced even further.

Don’t wait another moment without legal representation. Contact the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. today to schedule a case consultation. We defend people accused of DWI charges throughout the greater Harris County area including Houston, Bellaire, River Oaks and Uptown. Call us now at (713) 224-5529 to speak to a skilled attorney today.

Overview of Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas


What is Intoxicated Manslaughter in Texas?

Texas is unique as it has its own laws for DWI offenses that result in another’s death. The intoxication manslaughter statute is found under Section 49.08 of the Texas Penal Code. It states you’re committing intoxication manslaughter if you:

  • Operated a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated; and
  • That intoxication caused the death of another by mistake or on accident.

DWI charges aren’t exclusive to just motor vehicles. You can be charged with DWI for operating a watercraft, aircraft, or assembling an amusement park ride intoxicated. Texas defines intoxication as any person with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or above. It can also be defined as not having the normal use of your mental and physical faculties because of alcohol or drugs.

Law enforcement uses chemical testing to asses a person’s impairment level. Officers will use breath analysis, blood analysis or urinalysis to measure a person’s BAC. Texas Penal Code § 49.01 states your BAC must be measured by number of grams of alcohol per:

  • 67 milliliters of urine;
  • 100 milliliters of blood; or
  • 210 liters of breath

Chemical testing isn’t the only way law enforcement determines if a person is impaired. Law enforcement also use field sobriety tests to evaluate your mental and physical faculties. You may see a variety of field sobriety tests, but only the ones standardized by the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NHTSA) are admissible in court. These tests include the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus.


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What is the Penalty for Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas?

Driving while impaired is risky and can lead to disastrous events. If another person loses their life because of your DWI, you will be charged with intoxication manslaughter. The penalties associated with intoxication manslaughter are much more severe than a simple DWI.

Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000

Depending on who your victim was, your penalties may be enhanced even further. If the victim was an emergency medical service personnel, judge, peace officer, or firefighter on duty, then you’ll face a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony is punishable by:

  • Minimum prison sentence of 5 years;
  • Maximum prison sentence of 99 years of life in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

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 Intoxication Assault

A common offense charged with intoxication manslaughter is intoxication assault. If you caused serious bodily injury to another person because of your intoxicated driving, then you could face intoxication assault. Similar to intoxication manslaughter, you can also be charged with intoxicated assault for operating an aircraft, watercraft or assembling an amusement park ride.

Texas defines serious bodily injury as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death. It can also mean any serious permanent disfigurement and protracted loss or impairment of a body part. Some examples of serious bodily injury include amputated limbs, brain injuries and complete paralysis.

Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000

If the injury caused the victim to be in a persistent vegetative state, then your penalties are enhanced to a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000

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Additional Resources

Texas DWI Laws – Visit the official website for Texas Legislature to access the Texas Penal Code. Here you can find more information surrounding DWI offenses, their penalties, and admissible defenses in court.

A Citizen’s Guide to the Texas Criminal Justice Process– Visit a document provided by the State Bar of Texas Criminal Justice Section to learn more about the Texas criminal justice process. Access the document to learn more about bail, the trial process and community supervision.


DWI Attorney in Harris County, Texas

Handling intoxication manslaughter charges is overwhelming and confusing. Not only are you facing criminal charges, but you’re also probably handling the emotional ramifications of the event. It’s important you find quality legal representation to guide you through this process.

Call the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. to schedule a free consultation. We are experienced in handling both intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter cases. Not only this, but our attorneys approach each client with compassion. You will never face judgement when you are with us.

Contact us today at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys accept clients throughout the Houston area including River Oaks, Bellaire, West University Place and Pasadena.


This article was last updated on March 13th, 2019.

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