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Intoxication Manslaughter - Texas

Intoxication Manslaughter Charges in Texas, Montgomery County, The Woodlands, Conroe, and Houston.  Brian Foley is a Criminal Defense Attorney in Montgomery County​ and was a member of the Vehicular Crimes call out team as a prosecutor.  Brian was dispatched to the scene of serious DWI and intoxication offenses like Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter.  Put a former chief prosecutor on your side today!

Can you beat an Intoxication Manslaughter case with a blood test? 
Blood Tests are not always reliable and there are more issues in an Intoxication Manslaughter case than simply if someone was killed and a blood alcohol level was over 0.08. The State of Texas has the burden of proof to show that not only were you intoxicated but that this intoxication caused the death of another individual.  You can still fight Intoxication Manslaughter charges even when the police have collected a sample of your blood.  An experienced DWI lawyer in Conroe, the Woodlands, or Houston can help you fight a DWI arrest if you have consented to a blood test or the police took your blood after getting a warrant.
What is the Causation defense? Every Intoxication Manslaughter charge is a mistake.  Nobody means to hurt another person in a car wreck.  In fact the statute under Texas Penal Code 49.08 will not allow for a conviction unless the prosecution proves that it was "by accident or mistake."




(a)  A person commits an offense if the person:


(1)  operates a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride;  and


(2)  is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.

The language "by reason of that intoxication causes" is almost always the most important part of any Intoxication Manslaughter trial.  There are many reasons why someone may have been hurt in a traffic collision.   

  • There may have been intervening causes like other cars or the driver of the other vehicle.

  • Road construction may be poor and lead to increased risk of collision.

  • Weather Conditions may have contributed to poor driving conditions. 

If there are other reasons other than intoxication that show the same result would have occurred then you may be found not guilty of Intoxication Assault due to a lack of proof on the element of causation.  

Concurrent Causation Concurrent causation is defined in Texas Penal Code §6.04(a), 


  • A person is criminally responsible if the result would not have occurred but for his conduct, operating alone or concurrently with another cause, unless the concurrent cause was clearly sufficient to produce the result and the conduct of the actor clearly insufficient.

This means that if you were intoxicated and driving at 65 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone and another driver swerves into your lane and collides with your vehicle and they are killed, you may be found Not Guilty because your conduct may have been clearly insufficient to produce the wreck. 

Nobody outside of my car was hurt.  Can I still be charged with Intoxication Manslaughter? When someone crashes his or her vehicle into a ditch or tree or some other inanimate object the only people who are hurt are typically the driver and someone they know who is a passenger in the vehicle.  Charges are not often pushed by friends or family members in this situation. 


However the State of Texas can still charge you for the injuries inflicted on this person.  A husband or wife can be charged for the death of their spouse even if they were a passenger in the vehicle.  A brother can be charged for the death of a sister who was the passenger in his vehicle compounding stress for parents dealing with the death of one child and criminal charges on another.  So what is the answer to the question, "Can I be charged with Intoxication Manslaughter if they were in my car?"  Yes you can be charged, but it doesn't mean you have to be convicted or spend time in prison because of it.  Call an experienced defense attorney to get a consultation.​ 

What is the punishment for an Intoxication Manslaughter Charge?
An Intoxication Manslaughter Charge is a Second Degree Felony punishable by a minimum of 2 years in prison and up to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  Under certain circumstances you may be eligible for probation for a period of up to 10 years. 

If the person injured is a Police Officer or Firefighter then the offense is a First Degree Felony punishable by a minimum of 5 years in prison and up to a maximum of 99 years in prison or life and a $10,000 fine.  This offense is also eligible for probation for a period of up to 10 years under certain circumstances. 

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