Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

Defenses to intoxication manslaughter charges in Texas

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 § 49.08,"

Categories