Many driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests stem from traditional traffic stops, but some people are accused of drunk driving after being involved in motor vehicle accidents. When a crash caused by an allegedly intoxicated driver results in serious bodily injury to another person, the alleged drunk driver may be charged with the crime of intoxication assault.
Unlike DWI, which is usually a misdemeanor for a first offense, intoxication assault is a felony. Prosecutors usually seek maximum sentences for people accused of injuring others because of drunk driving.
If you or your loved one have been arrested for an alleged intoxication assault in the Fort Worth area, you do not want to be going into court alone. Make sure you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy has been defending clients all over Tarrant County since 2002. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Texas Penal Code § 49.07(a) establishes that a person commits intoxication assault if they, by accident or mistake:
Under Texas Penal Code § 49.07(b), serious bodily injury is defined as an “injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
Intoxication assault is usually a third-degree felony, but Texas Penal Code § 49.09 provides for enhanced offenses and penalties. Texas Penal Code § 49.09(b-1) provides that an intoxication assault offense is a second-degree felony if the alleged offender caused serious bodily injury to a peace officer, a firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel while in the actual discharge of an official duty.
Intoxication assault is also a second-degree felony under Texas Penal Code § 49.09(b-4) when an alleged offender caused serious bodily injury to another in the nature of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that results in a persistent vegetative state.
When intoxication assault is a third-degree felony, a conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison. A second-degree felony intoxication assault offense is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 20 years in prison.
Intoxication assault is not always the only criminal charge a person faces after a crash involving alleged drunk driving. Some people could also be charged with reckless driving or leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run), and the additional criminal charges could involve separate penalties.
Intoxication assault convictions can also in driver’s licenses being suspended for up to two years. The court could also order a person to complete a mandatory drug and/or alcohol treatment program, install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) on all vehicles they own or operate, and submit to random drug and/or alcohol testing.
Certain intoxication assault cases may attempt to challenge certain definitions applicable to the case. There may not be enough evidence to prove that a person was intoxicated, but the injuries involved might not satisfy the state’s definition of serious.
It may also be possible in some cases that the alleged offender was not at fault for the underlying motor vehicle accident. Some intoxication assault charges stem from blood tests performed while alleged offenders are in hospitals, and any number of errors in the administration of chemical tests or the maintenance of the equipment involved could invalidate the results.
Sobering Facts: Drunk Driving in Texas | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — Learn more alcohol-involved deaths and drunk driving in Texas by viewing this CDC fact sheet. The CDC reported that 13,138 people were killed between 2003 and 2012 in crashes involving a drunk driver. You can also find strategies to reduce or prevent drunk driving.
DUI (Alcohol) Crashes and Injuries Cities and Towns | Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) — View statistics for driving under the influence (DUI) crashes in 2018 broken down by the cities and towns where the accidents took place and the types of injuries involved. You can also learn more about drunk driving crash statistics on the TxDOT website. Statistics are also available for fatal crashes by month and day, crashes by the hour of the week, and fatal crashes by the hour of the day.
Were you or your loved one arrested for an alleged intoxication assault in Fort Worth or a nearby community in Tarrant County? It will be critical for you to retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. We can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.