For the most part, Texas law requires proof of criminal intent before a
person can be convicted of a crime. But there are exceptions, and in some
cases an unintentional injury or death can be charged as a crime.
For example, a person can be charged with manslaughter in Texas for causing
the death of another person through reckless behavior. Similarly, a person
can be charged with negligent homicide for causing a death through criminally
negligent behavior. And if a person is intoxicated while driving, and
causes the death of another person due to that intoxication, they can
be charged with intoxication manslaughter, a second degree felony.
Anyone facing charges of intoxication manslaughter needs to mount an aggressive
defense. A conviction can result in a prison sentence of many years. Texas
prosecutors pursue these cases with a vengeance and judges are not inclined
to show mercy to an individual facing this charge.
Defenses are available to a charge of intoxication manslaughter. It is
not enough for the prosecution to show that you were intoxicated and involved
in a fatal accident. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your
intoxication caused the fatal accident. If you were intoxicated and involved
in an accident but it was the other driver's fault, you may be guilty
of DWI, but you are not guilty of intoxication manslaughter.
Determining who was at fault in any motor vehicle accident is not always
easy. If the defense can convince the jury there is reasonable doubt that
your intoxication caused the accident, you should be acquitted.
Source: Texas State Legislature, "Tex. Penal Code Â§ 49.08,"