Under Texas law, intoxication manslaughter occurs when you voluntarily drink alcohol, take drugs (including prescription medicines), or ingest a combination of both and then accidentally kill someone in a traffic crash while driving. It is a serious felony due to the fact that it combines drunk and/or drugged driving with a homicide, however unintentional that homicide may have been. It is outlined under Texas Penal Code Chapter 49 “Intoxication and Alcoholic Beverage Offenses.” It applies to not only motorists but those who operate boats and other watercraft, airplanes, and amusement park rides.
If you are facing the charge of intoxicated manslaughter in College Station, Bryan, or elsewhere in Brazos County, it is vital that you seek the help of a reliable criminal defense lawyer. At The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C., you can work with a legal team that is led by a Board Certified Criminal Defense Specialist who is the recipient of many legal industry awards and recognitions. Our team has more than 30 years of experience handling criminal cases of all types and sizes. We are proud of our outstanding track record and the exceptional legal ability we bring to every client.
Texas Intoxicated Manslaughter & Its Penalties
In an intoxication manslaughter arrest, the person who is killed could be the driver or occupant of another vehicle, a passenger in your vehicle, a pedestrian, a motorcyclist, or someone on a bicycle. The person who is killed does not have to die instantly; his or her death could occur later after being injured by the crash.
The key elements of this crime are that you were driving a vehicle in a public area, you were drunk and/or drug impaired by legal definition, your intoxication led to the accident, and that accident resulted in the death of the victim. All of these elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecutor in order to gain a conviction.
Intoxication manslaughter is charged as a second-degree felony carrying the following penalties:
- Two up to 20 years in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Community service of 250 up to 800 hours served in addition to other penalties
- A license suspension of 180 days up to two years
- Potential court-ordered alcohol education program
- Substance abuse assessment and treatment
- Installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle at your own expense
Your penalties may be enhanced under certain aggravating circumstances. These can include a prior history of DWI, having a blood alcohol concentration that measured .15 or more, you were driving with a passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle at the time, the person you killed was a police officer, firefighter, or some other type of similar public servant, or you were driving with an open container of alcohol in your vehicle. If the victim was a law enforcement officer or some other type of first responder, you can be charged with a first-degree felony carrying penalties of five years up to life in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
Reach Out to The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C.
As you can see, intoxication manslaughter is a very serious offense carrying harsh penalties. You will need the expertise and dedicated service of an attorney who will work relentlessly to help you achieve the most favorable outcome. Our firm is here to help you at this difficult time and apply all of our experience, skill, and knowledge on your behalf.
Contact us for a free, initial consultation at (979) 773-7028 or through our online request form today.