Texas DWI Laws: Intoxication Assault Charges

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While any DWI in Texas is a serious offense, when a DWI in Texas results in another person or persons being injured, your consequences become much more severe. If you are charged with Intoxication Assault in the state of Texas, you are facing a felony charge rather than a misdemeanor charge (first and second DWI charges in Texas are generally charged as a misdemeanor, unless someone is hurt or you had a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle with you). The state of Texas takes the prosecution of impaired driving offenses extremely seriously, and you should do the same. There may be issues associated with your traffic stop, or with how the officer administered your field sobriety tests, breath tests or blood tests, or you may not have been legally intoxicated.

Finally, you might not have actually caused the accident, as is being claimed. It is extremely important to contact a reputable Houston DWI lawyer as quickly as possible. Your attorney can identify any mitigating factors and build a solid defense on your behalf, based on your precise situation and the facts surrounding your arrest. A Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorney will work tirelessly on your behalf, negotiating with the Harris County District Attorney to have your charges dropped or lessened, or offering strong litigation skills before a Harris County judge and jury.

DWI in Texas vs. Intoxication Assault - Both DWI in Texas charges and Texas Intoxication Assault charges share certain elements which must be proven in order to make a case against you. You must have been operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in a public place for either charge. However, to prove Intoxication Assault, another element must be proven: that you, either by accident, or mistake, caused serious bodily injury to another person.

Like a “regular” DWI, you will be asked to submit to a breath or blood test following an accident caused by intoxication. If you fail the test, or refuse the test, your driving privileges will be significantly affected. You will have only fifteen days following your arrest to request an administrative hearing—if you fail to do so, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended.

Intoxication Assault can occur when a person is driving a vehicle while intoxicated, boating while intoxicated, flying while intoxicated, operating an amusement park ride while intoxicated, or assembling an amusement park ride while intoxicated, so long as the impaired person caused an accident in any of those circumstances, and another person was injured.

Intoxication Assault in Texas - Under Texas Penal Code Section 49.07, the offense of Intoxication Assault is defined as an individual operating a motor vehicle on a public road, and, due to his or her impairment, an accident occurs which results in injury to another person. The Texas Code defines a serious injury as any injury which “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.”

If you are charged with Intoxication Assault in the state of Texas, you will be facing a third-degree felony, however enhancements to the charge can occur depending on how serious the injuries are and who was injured. If the injury to the person results in that person being in a vegetative state, the offense of Intoxication Assault becomes a second-degree felony. If the person injured is a firefighter, emergency medical personnel or peace officer who is injured in the line of duty, the offense will also be charged as a second-degree felony.

Defenses to Intoxication Assault - While the defense provided by your Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorneys will be specifically tailored to the circumstances of your accident, the facts, evidence and interpretation of the law, your Houston DWI lawyer will work to instill reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. The Harris County District Attorney must prove causation—he or she must prove you were intoxicated and that the intoxication was the direct cause of the accident. Your attorney can refute the State’s evidence and arguments with the following challenges:

  • Constitutional Violations—if the police officer failed to properly uphold your rights and protections under the Constitution of the United States, then any evidence obtained through police misconduct may be thrown out. As an example, perhaps the police officer neglected to read you your Miranda rights once you were placed under arrest.
  • Improper Administration or Inaccurate Results of Breath or Blood Tests—The results of your breath or blood test can be carefully analyzed by your Houston DWI attorney in order to determine whether the tests were properly administered, whether the testing implements were properly maintained and calibrated, or whether there were mistakes made in the lab.
  • Motions to Suppress, Dismiss, or Exclude—In some cases, evidence can be suppressed, excluded or dismissed through a motion filed by your attorney based on improper actions or flawed evidence.
  • The Elements of the Offense Were Not Properly Proven—Just as with any DWI, the prosecutor must show you were intoxicated, whether through a BAC reading or the police officer’s observations of the absence of normal use of physical or mental faculties. Since the officer’s observations are subjective, if your BAC does not meet the level for impairment charges, your attorney may challenge the officer’s observations.  Even if you were legally impaired, it must still be proven that you caused the accident which resulted in injury to another person. Simply because you were impaired does not automatically make the accident your fault. Your Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorney will determine whether the other driver was even partially responsible for the accident.

Being Convicted of Intoxication Assault - If you are convicted of Intoxication Assault in the state of Texas, you could be sentenced to prison for a period of two years to ten years, and face a fine as large as $10,000. If your offense was enhanced, your prison sentences could be from two years to twenty years, and the fine can be as large as $10,000. Your driver’s license may be suspended, and you could be sentenced to community service or could be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. Having a Sullo & Sullo Houston criminal defense attorney by your side from start to finish can ensure the best outcome for your DWI in Texas or DUI in Texas. Your Houston criminal defense lawyer will work hard on your behalf; we understand your situation, and believe that every person deserves another chance. Contact a Sullo & Sullo Houston criminal defense lawyer today.

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