What is intoxication manslaughter in Dallas?
Intoxication manslaughter occurs when an intoxicated driver causes the death of another person. It’s a second-degree felony in Texas and can carry up to 20 years in prison.
Intoxication manslaughter is Texas’ most serious intoxication crime and requires an experienced Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer. Texas Penal Code 49.08 states a person commits the offense if they:
- Operate a motor vehicle in a public place; operate an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assemble a mobile amusement ride; and
- Is intoxicated, and because of the intoxication, causes the death of another person by accident or mistake.
If you or a family member is facing an intoxication manslaughter charge, you must find an experienced Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer. Varghese Summersett has extensive experience fighting intoxication cases and handling the complex issues surrounding them. If you’re facing these charges, you need one of our Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyers.
In this post, we’ll go over what constitutes intoxication manslaughter in Dallas, the punishment for a conviction, and some of the collateral consequences a conviction could bring.
Dallas Intoxication Manslaughter Lawyer, Serving Dallas and the Surrounding Areas
An intoxication manslaughter charge in Dallas County is one of the most difficult charges to face and is challenging for judges, juries, and attorneys alike. Intoxication manslaughter occurs when a person causes someone’s death by accident or mistake as a result of driving while intoxicated.
Dallas County has led all large-population counties in Texas in fatality crash rates and has the highest number per capita of fatalities when one of the drivers was intoxicated, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Dallas intoxication manslaughter charges can have serious consequences. If you face these charges, it is essential to consult a Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer who can help you understand the implications and build a strong defense against them. An experienced Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer can explain the law in detail and ensure that your rights are protected.
Unlike other criminal offenses, an individual does not need to have intent to commit the crime for charges to be brought against them. The prosecution only needs to prove enough evidence to support the charge, and a conviction can occur. This means that anyone who drives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be held responsible for any resulting death, even if they had no intention of causing someone harm.
A strong Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer can help build a strong defense for your case. It’s vital to seek legal representation as soon as possible so your lawyer can begin working on your behalf.
What is causation in an intoxication manslaughter case?
Texas Penal Code Section 6.04 explains causation as when a person is “criminally responsible if the result would not have occurred but for his conduct, operating either alone or concurrently with another cause, unless the concurrent cause was sufficient to produce the result and the conduct of the actor clearly insufficient.”
Did the other driver share responsibility for the incident? Was the victim wearing a seatbelt? Causation includes all the factors evaluated in cases such as these. This can complicate intoxication manslaughter cases and is why it requires an adept Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer.
It must be proven that the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the incident that caused the death. Furthermore, it must be proven intoxication was the cause of death, whether by accident or mistake.
What is the punishment for intoxication manslaughter in Dallas?
Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas. A conviction could bring between two and 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Deferred adjudication is not an option for most intoxication-related offenses. Only sentences of fewer than 10 years are eligible to receive probation.
Even with probation, the probationer must serve a minimum of 120 days in custody. A skillful Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer will work to win you the best possible result.
Moreover, the probationer will be subject to multiple potential other conditions, including no alcohol consumption for the duration of the probation, license suspension, alcohol and drug treatment classes, interlock installation on any vehicle operated on an occupational license, community service, and reporting to probation officers once a month.
Most people who receive probation for intoxication manslaughter are given a maximum of 10 years probation. In short, probation can be precarious. Someone on probation can have a flawless record for 9.5 years and then have a violation and be forced to serve up to 20 years in prison.
On top of the strict penalties, some Texas counties add an extra paragraph in the indictment alleging a deadly weapon was used in the offense. A deadly weapon finding means the judge cannot offer probation. In these instances, only the jury can give probation, and only for sentences of 10 years or less.
A deadly weapon finding doubles the prison time a person must serve before being eligible for parole.
Is jail required for all intoxication manslaughter convictions in Texas?
Yes, even if the defendant receives probation, a conviction for intoxication manslaughter requires a mandatory 120 days in jail.
When do elevated penalties apply to an intoxicated manslaughter charge?
If there is more than one fatality in a drunk-driving accident, the defendant will likely face a separate count of manslaughter for each death.
For example, if two people are killed in the accident, and a jury sentences the defendant to 20 years on each count, the exposure could be 40 years in prison if the judge chooses to stack the sentences instead of ordering the sentences to run concurrently.
Suppose the person killed in a DWI wreck was a police officer or emergency medical services worker. In that case, the charge escalates to a first-degree felony from a second-degree felony. A judge could also order a fine of up to $10,000.
What are the collateral consequences for a DWI manslaughter conviction?
An intoxication manslaughter conviction in Dallas will no doubt cause a slew of collateral consequences on top of the punishment of a jail sentence and fines. Convicted felons might have issues finding employment in certain types of jobs, and it could affect your approval to rent a home or apartment. It could also prevent you from having the right to visit or have custody of your children.
With stakes this high, you need an elite Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer. Call today to learn how our Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer could defend you against these charges.
Can drugs lead to intoxication manslaughter charges?
Yes, causing a fatal wreck while driving under the influence of drugs can lead to intoxicated manslaughter charges. This can include legal, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs.
How common is intoxication manslaughter in Dallas?
Intoxication manslaughter charges are common in Dallas County. A review of some recent Dallas intoxication manslaughter cases includes:
- A 31-year-old Dallas woman was arrested for intoxication manslaughter after killing a Dallas police officer in a wrong-way crash in October 2022.
- A 23-year-old Dallas man was charged with intoxication manslaughter when a passenger in his F-150 truck died after a wreck in October 2021.
- A 33-year-old Dallas man was charged with multiple offenses, including intoxication manslaughter, after a woman standing near a stranded car on the side of the road was killed in July 2022.
Need a Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer? Call us.
The team at Varghese Summersett includes former prosecutors and Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorneys with extensive experience handling intoxication and DWI cases in North Texas. Call us for a free consultation, where our Dallas intoxication manslaughter lawyer will review your case and discuss your options. Call our Dallas office at 214-903-4000.