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Overview of Intoxication Manslaughter Charges in Texas

 Posted on November 10, 2023 in Criminal Defense

TX defense lawyerIn 2022, Texas experienced 4,481 motor vehicle fatalities. If you killed another person while operating a motor vehicle and the police suspect you had been drinking, you may be charged with intoxication manslaughter. 

Defending an intoxication manslaughter charge is complicated, and you want skilled representation working for you. If you have been charged with intoxication manslaughter, you need a Frisco intoxication manslaughter defense lawyer

What is Intoxication Manslaughter?

Manslaughter is defined as the reckless killing of another person. Manslaughter is most likely caused by negligence or recklessness, lacking the intent needed to constitute murder. 

While many jurisdictions consider killing someone while driving under the influence as vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide, Texas has a separate charge. In the Lone Star state, an inebriated motorist will be charged with intoxication manslaughter.

Texas Penal Code § 49.08 states that a person commits intoxication manslaughter if the offender operates either a motor vehicle, airplane, boat, or amusement park ride intoxicated, causing the death of another person by accident or mistake. Even if you do not feel impaired before you get behind the wheel, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, you still violate the law.

What is the Punishment for Intoxication Manslaughter?

Texas law normally classifies intoxication manslaughter as a second-degree felony. If you are found guilty, you may be serving between two to twenty years in prison and possibly be paying up to $10,000 in fines.

You may also have to perform community service and be placed on probation. The probation period will be between two to 10 years. During this time, you may also have court-ordered community service.

If you have been charged with intoxication manslaughter, you need a Collin County intoxication manslaughter defense lawyer who will know which defenses may be available in your situation.

Similar Texas Offenses

Vehicular Manslaughter

Like intoxication manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter is also considered a second-degree felony. However, the charge can be enhanced to a first-degree felony if you kill a first responder, sheriff, deputy, constable, or police officer.

Examples of vehicular manslaughter include the following events leading to another person’s death:

  • Street racing
  • Ignoring traffic signals
  • Fleeing from the police
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Excessive speeding

Criminally Negligent Homicide

If you were unaware of the risks you were taking, you may be charged with criminally negligent homicide. Unlike recklessness, which entails knowing how risky an act is, criminally negligent homicide means the offender did not intend to harm anyone.

The punishment for criminally negligent homicide is less severe than vehicular manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter, with the possibility of spending six months to two years in state jail and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.

Contact a Frisco, TX, Intoxication Manslaughter Defense Lawyer Today

One careless act can result in harsh penalties and even jail time. If you are facing intoxication manslaughter charges, the Collin County, TX, intoxication manslaughter defense lawyers at Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. are available to assist you. Contact us online or by calling 469-333-3333 to schedule your free consultation. 

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