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If you live in Texas and get behind the wheel and drive while intoxicated, you can face some stiff penalties. If you get into a traffic accident while under the influence, and it leads to a fatality, you’re committing intoxication manslaughter. This offense may be defined as vehicular manslaughter or simply manslaughter in other jurisdictions.
If you are facing any type of drunk driving-related charge, especially intoxication manslaughter, you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney in San Marcos, TX.
While intoxication manslaughter generally applies to driving a car while drunk or high, it may also extend to situations where you’re operating a boat or airplane – even an amusement ride. The offense applies to people who kill someone else after voluntarily drinking too much or taking illegal drugs before driving.
While drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs are the common reasons for intoxication, a combination of substances or taking prescription medicines may also lead to an intoxication manslaughter charge.
Law enforcement officials may use blood alcohol tests or field sobriety testing to determine the level of intoxication.
While you are considered legally intoxicated if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) hits .08%, you’re still breaking the law if you’re boating, flying, or motoring affects how you drive.
If another party gets killed while you’re intoxicated and operating a car, boat, or plane, they may be an operator or passenger, a bystander, cyclist, or walker. The death does not have to happen on impact. It may also result from injuries sustained after the crash.
To prove intoxication manslaughter, a prosecutor must show that the driver’s intoxication was the sole reason for the victim’s death. For example, if an intoxicated driver veers in the wrong lane to avoid a crash, a jury might decide that the wrong-way collision, not intoxication, led to the victim’s death.
Anytime someone kills another person, the act is called a homicide. However, homicides may be legal or illegal. Self-defense is not illegal or considered a crime.
When a homicide is illegal, it falls under one of two classifications: murder or manslaughter. Manslaughter occurs when a person kills another person without premeditation, malicious intent, or malice.
Murder, however, is done with intent or premeditation and carries more serious penalties.
Regardless of whether it is manslaughter or murder, taking the life of another person is considered the most serious offense in the state. Texas considers manslaughter intoxication as a second-degree felony charge.
Therefore, you’re facing two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. You may face even more serious repercussions if the victim was a judge, an EMS employee on the job, a firefighter, or a police officer.
For instance, if you’re driving while intoxicated and strike and kill a police officer who is issuing a ticket, you’re looking at a first-degree felony charge. This type of conviction can carry a penalty of five years to life in prison.
Similar to probation, community service may be a viable alternative. However, to meet this mandate, the defendant must serve at least 120 days behind bars and complete required educational training first.
The sentence may involve up to 800 hours of community service, a driver’s license suspension for at least 90 days, an ignition interlock requirement, and monetary restitution to compensate the victims’ families for funeral costs and similar expenses.
Therefore, you need to consult with a defense attorney who has direct experience in intoxication manslaughter cases, as you’ll be facing an uphill battle. To poke holes in the prosecutor’s case, a defense attorney might question the credibility of the toxicology reports or how they were conducted.
Because the prosecutor must show that a defendant’s intoxication was the reason for the victim’s death, a defense attorney might point to other factors, such as poor weather, to mitigate the circumstances that led to the fatal crash.
If you need help with your defense for a DWI accident, you need to contact a DWI lawyer who understands the court system and has the experience needed to successfully defend your case. If you are in Texas, schedule a consultation with the Mendoza Law Firm. Make a call now to ensure you’re receiving the legal support you need to successfully defend your case.
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