Most intoxication manslaughter cases are difficult to defend. Several punishments befall a person who has been convicted with intoxication manslaughter and in addition to that, as long as the media covers such cases, it is difficult to escape because of public outcry. If you are involved in an intoxication manslaughter case, then you need a tight defense plan
What is Intoxication Manslaughter?
According to Texas law, intoxication manslaughter is a category of homicide that applies to cases where a drunk driver causes the death of someone else. This usually happens when he drives and gets into an accident that kills a passenger, another driver in another car, or a pedestrian. Sometimes the death is not immediate, it can take some time before a victim dies – whereby death may result from injuries caused during the accident
It is noteworthy that manslaughter is different from homicide. A homicide involves willful and conscious action. On the other hand, manslaughter is not intentional or premeditated but even if it is not intentional or planned, the intoxicated driver will still be arrested and charged with manslaughter
Intoxication manslaughter applies when a person takes drugs knowingly and gets behind the wheel and kills someone while driving. However, if someone is given a drug unknowingly, you are not responsible for any death caused. In case someone’s death is caused by you driving while intoxicated, even if it was not your intention to kill somebody, that is considered as voluntary intoxication.
Even though manslaughter is not considered as serious as murder, it has severe penalties associated with it. Here are the penalties for intoxication manslaughter:
Prison: a conviction for manslaughter intoxication can lead to a long sentence in prison. Texas law considers manslaughter as a second-degree felony and warrants 2 to 20 years’ imprisonment. The law also has mandatory minimums which means that if one was sentenced to 20 years in prison, they have to serve 2 years before they are eligible to be released on parole.
Fines: being convicted for manslaughter also attracts fines. Texas law requires that a person convicted of intoxication manslaughter pays a fine of up to $10000.
Community service: in addition to prison and fines, the law dictates that you must do community service for 240 hours. The court is at liberty to authorize an offender to serve up to 800 hours if it pleases.
How to Beat a Manslaughter Charge
If you want to defend a manslaughter case, you have to prove that DWI was not the cause of the death. For example, you might have taken some alcohol at a bar and when driving back home, you accidentally knocked a person who was crossing the road while the red lights were on. In this case, you have a fair chance of defending yourself because the person caused their own death.
There is another way that attorneys can beat this case and this is by using the “time of driving” rule. Attorneys may use this way to determine whether you were intoxicated at the time when the accident occurred. In Texas, the prosecution must provide evidence that you were intoxicated at the time of the accident, to convict you. However, the process and methodology of determining intoxication is faulty and may not be accepted in court
Factors that Affect Manslaughter Cases
The following are factors that can affect your manslaughter case and lead to your conviction:
- If your alcohol concentration was 0.05% and above at the time of the accident
- If you have ever been convicted with DWI before
- If you have ever been convicted of intoxication manslaughter before
- If the victim was in law enforcement
- If there was a minor in your car
The mentioned circumstances may change your case from a second-degree felony to a first degree, making you serve life imprisonment.
Retaining a DWI Attorney
Someone who finds themselves in such a situation needs a DWI attorney. One that will listen to them, understand them, and help them with the case. Even if you think you are at fault, you should speak to an attorney who will provide you with sound legal advice. Someone who understands Texas laws and will fight to lessen charges leveled against you.