Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a pretty serious charge all on its own — but intoxication manslaughter is much worse.
Intoxication manslaughter is a criminal charge that’s unique to Texas, and it can be used in several situations where an intoxicated person causes an accident that has fatal results. This is an enhanced charge that differs from ordinary vehicular manslaughter in that the defendant must be intoxicated — not merely reckless.
When can you be charged with intoxication manslaughter?
Texas law states that someone can be charged with intoxication manslaughter if he or she operates “a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride and is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.”
In other words, if you’re over the legal blood alcohol limit and you operate a car, truck, plane, boat or amusement park ride and you make a mistake that leads to someone’s death, that’s a second-degree felony.
What does that mean for you? If you’re convicted, you can face:
- A fine of up to $10,000
- A suspended license (up to two years)
- A prison term that ranges between two and 20 years
But that’s not all the potential penalties, since you may also face legal trouble related specifically to drunk driving and civil lawsuits from anyone that was injured or the family members of anybody that was killed.
If you’re facing any kind of DWI charges, including intoxication manslaughter, you need to be very cautious about your next moves. Invoke your right to remain silent and find out what potential defenses are available. You can’t afford another mistake.