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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Additional penalties may also include a two-year suspension of the alleged offender’s driver’s license anc 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).
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:
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 and Brian A. Bolton have more than 20 years of combined experience successfully defending clients all over North Texas against highly serious DWI offenses.
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy serves Lewisville and many surrounding areas, including Westlake, Grapevine, and Little Elm. Let our firm review your case and begin developing a formidable legal defense by calling 940-222-8004 to set up a free consultation.