The vast majority of Houston residents would not think of trying to cause an accident while they are behind the wheel.
The scary thing is that even if a person intended no harm, they can still face a serious felony charge after a fatal accident.
Like many other states, Texas has a separate law to punish people who drive while intoxicated and are involved in a fatal accident. This crime is called intoxication manslaughter, and it is typically charged as a second-degree felony.
A second-degree felony can land a person in prison for at least two years. The maximum penalty is 20 years. A person who is convicted can also receive a $10,000 fine.
It is worth pointing out that being intoxicated and causing an accident that seriously injuries someone else can also lead to a felony charge.
Even people who have no prior criminal convictions can face a lengthy prison term if faced with an intoxication manslaughter charge.
In other words, if someone dies in an accident, someone who may have for the first time in their lives had one too many drinks before getting behind the wheel can face this charge.
The prosecutor will have to prove their intoxication manslaughter case
The law also applies even if the person who was legally intoxicated had no intention of causing an accident. They could do something as simple as miss a stop sign or rear-end someone. Both of these are mistakes sober drivers also frequently make.
Still, after such an accident, if a person’s blood alcohol content registers at least .08, they may face an intoxication manslaughter charge.
This being said, Texas prosecutors do have to prove their cases beyond a reasonable doubt. They will have to prove with admissible evidence that the driver was intoxicated.
They also have to prove that the driver’s being under the influence cause the fatal accident.
Someone facing an intoxication manslaughter charge should make sure to understand their legal rights and the alternatives available to them.