Driving after having too much to drink could lead to an arrest for a DWI in Texas. However, getting pulled over for drunk driving is better than getting into an accident while intoxicated. A drunk driving car accident can lead to intoxication assault charges if anyone is seriously injured in the accident.
A driver who is arrested for intoxication assault may not have been impaired at the time of the accident or may not have been the cause of the accident. If you are charged with intoxication assault, contact Texas DWI/DUI defense lawyer Jason S. English to fight for your rights, stay out of jail, and keep a criminal conviction off your record.
Intoxication Assault Law in Texas
Under Texas Penal Code § 49.07, a person commits the offense of intoxication assault while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another.
“Serious bodily injury" means 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.
Penalties for Intoxication Assault
- 2-10 years imprisonment,
- Fine of up to $10,000,
- License suspension for 180 days to 2 years.
In addition to jail and fines, intoxication assault also carries the penalties and restrictions of other DWI offenses, including DWI school, higher insurance premiums, and an ignition interlock system.
Drivers convicted of a DWI may be required to attend an alcohol education course and obtain an interlock device on their vehicle during the license suspension period. You will be required to pay for the cost of these yourself as well as any fees the Department of Motor Vehicles requires for reinstatement of your driver's license at the end of any suspension period.
A DWI conviction can harm your reputation, prevent you from getting certain jobs, and can cause your insurance premiums to increase. You can face the loss of a job if your employer finds out about the charge because you missed work due to being involved in an injury DWI crash. Many employers will be reluctant to hire a person with a DWI conviction especially if the job requires driving.
As a felony DWI offense, someone convicted of intoxication assault can lose their gun rights and voting rights. Convicted felons may face increased difficulty finding employment and housing or get government benefits.
Intoxication Assault Defense
In order for the prosecutor to get a guilty verdict, the prosecutor has to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of intoxication assault include proving the driver was:
- Operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated; and
- By reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another.
Talk to your Travis County DWI defense lawyer about the best defense strategies in your intoxication assault case. Your lawyer will investigate your case, review police records, and identify the strongest defense strategies to challenge your criminal charges.
The police and prosecutors often rely on chemical test results to show that the driver was intoxicated. Breath tests or blood tests are not always accurate. Improper chemical tests can result in false positives. Your attorney may be able to challenge the results of a breath or blood test in your DWI case. A “Motion to Suppress” can get the evidence thrown out based on:
- Improper calibration,
- Test conducted by an unqualified person,
- Improper tracking or labeling of the sample,
- Improper instructions, or
- Improperly administered test.
The police may have also conducted field sobriety tests to use as evidence that the driver was intoxicated. These so-called "tests" are notoriously inaccurate and rely on the officer's interpretations of the driver. These "tests" are also susceptible to false positives when a person has a physical or mental condition that may interfere with the tests. The results of the field sobriety tests can be challenged in various ways to show that the officer was inaccurate in his or her instructions or observations.
Austin Criminal Defense Attorney
Jason S. English was a criminal prosecutor in Texas for 15 years. He understands how prosecutors approach DWI cases and what prosecutors try to do to get a guilty plea. Before pleading guilty to any crime, make sure you understand your rights and options to fight the criminal charges.