Posted on 3/15/21

A Texas woman is facing criminal charges after a DUI-related car accident caused the death of a passenger in her vehicle. The woman was the driver responsible for the car accident in Houston that resulted in the death of a 34-year-old man who was in the front seat. Prosecutors have charged her with intoxicated manslaughter. Investigators think that the driver left the road while speeding when she crashed into a tree.

One passenger died from his injuries at the accident scene, and the driver and another passenger were transported to the hospital due to their injuries. The suspect told law enforcement that she was drinking at a restaurant before the car accident. The car accident occurred in the morning, and it is unusual for law enforcement to see single-vehicle collisions without some type of DUI or driver fatigue involved.

Facing Intoxicated Manslaughter Charges in Texas 

Texas recognizes a specific category of homicide that applies to situations in which a drunk driver causes a car accident that results in someone else’s death. Intoxicated manslaughter is an independent crime in Texas. Causing a person’s death by drunk driving is a criminal offense in other states, but Texas is the only state to identify a separate crime of intoxicated manslaughter. A murder occurs when a person intends to kill another person. Manslaughter occurs when a person kills another person without premeditation or malicious intent.  

Anytime someone kills another person due to being voluntarily drunk, he or she could face intoxicated manslaughter charges. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant knowingly got drunk or high on an illicit drug, got behind the wheel to drive, and killed someone in a car accident. If you were unknowingly drunk or high, prosecutors could not convict you of intoxicated manslaughter. Keep in mind that if you used alcohol or drugs voluntarily, even if you did not think you were drunk, you could still face charges.

Penalties for Intoxicated Manslaughter in Texas

Intoxicated manslaughter is a less serious criminal charge than murder, but defendants charged with intoxicated manslaughter should take their criminal defense seriously. If you are convicted of intoxicated manslaughter in Texas, you will be charged with a second-degree felony which carries a prison sentence between two and 20 years. Texas has mandatory minimum sentencing for intoxicated manslaughter, meaning that if you are sentenced for 20 years, you will need to serve at least two years in prison before you can become eligible for parole.

Defendants convicted of intoxicated manslaughter also face fines of up to $10,000 and must engage in community service. Those convicted must serve at least 240 hours of community service, but the court can impose up to 800 hours of community service. Additionally, those convicted face the stigma of having a criminal record that can interfere with employment and housing opportunities.

Contact a Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with intoxicated manslaughter, your future is on the line. You need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact Abel Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can fight for your rights.


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