Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses Possible Legislation to Enhance Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter Penalties

Texas drivers should be aware that legislation was filed that could enhance the penalties for intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter in certain situations. Under HB1327, an individual who causes the death or serious injury of another person while they are driving while intoxicated could face a greater punishment than they would face under current law if one or more specific aggravating factors are present.

Lawmakers argue that the legislation is necessary because Texas has one of the highest incidences of DWI-related fatal automobile wrecks in the nation. Supporters of the legislation say that it is a reasonable extension of the existing intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter laws. Presently, if a person who is driving while they are intoxicated causes the death of another person, they are likely to be charged with intoxication manslaughter. Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony which carries penalties that range from probation to imprisonment for up to twenty years. Under the current law, if a person who is driving while they are intoxicated causes serious bodily injury to another person, they are likely to be charged with intoxication assault. Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony that carries a range of penalties from probation up to ten years in prison. Current laws also include a list of aggravating factors that increase the ranges of punishment for those offenses. That list is set forth in Texas Penal Code Section 49.09, and includes special provisions for situations in which the person who got killed in the crash was a peace officer, firefighter, or EMS worker and situations in which the serious injury includes a traumatic brain injury that places the injured person in a persistent vegetative state.

HB1327 would expand the list of aggravating factors in Texas Penal Code Section 49.09 to include a variety of situations, including crashes that kill or seriously injure more than one person, crashes that kill or seriously injure a child, situations in which the offender failed to stop and render aid to accident victims after a collision, situations in which the defendant was driving without a valid license or insurance, situations in which the defendant was evading arrest or fleeing from officers, and situations in which the defendant has a prior DWI conviction.

Whether the intoxication manslaughter or intoxication assault laws change or not, if you get charged with either of these offenses you could face serious consequences. When there is so much at stake, it is essential that you seek the assistance of an experienced Texas DWI Defense Attorney. Your attorney can help you understand the nature of the charges that have been brought against you and they can help you protect your rights and the things that are most important to you. If you have been arrested for DWI and/or charged with related offenses like intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter, let Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, help you resolve your case. Attorney Pettit has assisted a number of Texas DWI clients with their cases, and he would like to help you. To learn more, please call 214-521-4567 today.

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