The crime of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is aggressively prosecuted in Texas, but the challenges for an alleged offender become incredibly daunting if he or she allegedly caused an accident that resulted in the death of another person. Prosecutors, victims’ families, and jury members alike can all express a willingness to see that the person accused of this crime receives nothing less than the maximum punishment allowed by law.
DWI manslaughter is a felony offense that can result in a lengthy prison sentence and substantial fines. Regardless of the alleged offender’s lack of intent, the state will attempt to argue that any person accused of this crime used a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon.
Intoxication Manslaughter Defense Lawyer in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, TX
Have you been arrested for DWI manslaughter in Denton County? You will want to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney not only for help fighting these charges, but you also have only 15 days to request an administrative license suspension hearing to get your driver’s license back if you refused to submit to chemical testing or failed a breath or blood test.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy is dedicated to defending clients in Lewisville and many surrounding areas, including The Colony, Denton, and Flower Mound. Our firm will provide a complete evaluation of your case to discuss all of your legal options when you call (940) 222-8004 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.
DWI Manslaughter Charges in Denton County
This crime is defined in Texas Penal Code § 49.08 as being when a person operates a motor vehicle in a public place, is intoxicated, and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake. Intoxicated is defined by Texas law as a person either “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body” or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
DWI manslaughter is classified as a second-degree felony, but the charge becomes a first-degree felony if the alleged offender caused the death of a peace officer, a firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel while in the actual discharge of an official duty.
It is important to understand that Texas Penal Code § 1.07 states that the term individual is defined as a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth. However, Texas Penal Code § 49.12 notes that DWI manslaughter does not apply to the death of an unborn child if the alleged offender is the mother of the unborn child.
Texas Penalties for Intoxication Manslaughter
An alleged offender accused of DWI manslaughter faces very severe consequences if convicted of this offense. Depending on the specific classification of the crime, possible punishments may include:
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and up to 800 hours of community service
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and up to 800 hours of community service
Additional penalties may also include a two-year suspension of the alleged offender’s driver’s license and mandatory installation of a deep-lung device (DLD) or ignition interlock device (IID) in every motor vehicle owned or driven by the alleged offender.
It is also critical to understand that accidents that result in separate fatalities will result in separate charges. This means that if an alleged offender is convicted for the deaths of two people, he or she could receive two 20-year prison sentences. The court may order these sentences to be served concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one begins after the other has been completed).
Related Offenses in Denton County
A person who has been arrested for DWI manslaughter can also face additional criminal charges. Some of the other crimes alleged offenders may be accused of as well include:
- Accident Involving Personal Injury or Death, Texas Transportation Code § 550.021 — Also known as “hit and run” or leaving the scene of the accident, this is a second-degree felony if the alleged offender is involved in an accident resulting in the death of another person and does not immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close as possible and return to the scene of the accident, determine whether a person is involved in the accident and whether that person requires aid, and remain at the scene of the accident until aid has been rendered
- Criminally Negligent Homicide, Texas Penal Code § 19.05 — It is a state jail felony if the alleged offender causes the death of an individual by criminal negligence.
- Intoxication Assault, Texas Penal Code § 49.07 — It is a third-degree felony if the alleged offender serious bodily injury to another person by accident or mistake by operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in a public place.
- Manslaughter, Texas Penal Code § 19.04 — It is a second-degree felony if the alleged offender recklessly causes the death of an individual.
Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for Intoxication Manslaughter Charges | Law Office of Richard C. McConathy
If you have been charged with DWI manslaughter in Denton County, it is in your best interest to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Richard C. McConathy has years of experience successfully defending clients all over North Texas against highly serious DWI offenses.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy serve Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas. Let our firm review your case and begin developing a formidable legal defense by calling (940) 222-8004 to set up a free consultation.