Texas Man Accepts Plea Deal for Intoxication Manslaughter

Driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated or DWI is a serious crime in Texas. Even a first time DWI offense is considered to be a Class B misdemeanors and drivers convicted of the charge can face up to 180 days in jail and/or fines of up to $2,000. However, what may be a misdemeanor offense can quickly escalate to a felony offense if a person is injured or killed as the result of the DWI.

In Texas, if an intoxicated driver is the proximate cause of an accident in which a person (other than the intoxicated driver) suffers seriously bodily injury, the driver could be charged with intoxication assault, a third degree felony. If convicted of intoxication assault, a person could face between two and ten years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 160 to 600 hours of community service.

If a person is killed as the result of an automobile accident involving an intoxicated driver, the driver could be charged with intoxication manslaughter, also known as “vehicular manslaughter”, which is a second degree felony. A person convicted of intoxication manslaughter could face between two and twenty years in prison. It is important to remember that in order for a prosecutor to obtain a guilty verdict in an intoxication manslaughter case, he or she does not have to prove that the driver intended to kill anyone. Even a death that occurs due to the driver’s accident or mistake is no defense to the charge of intoxication manslaughter.

In March, a Texas man accepted a plea deal just before his trial on intoxication manslaughter was about to begin. The man faced five counts of intoxication manslaughter, one count for each of his five victims. The charges stemmed from a June 2014 accident. The man was driving his flat-bed truck the wrong way down a Texas freeway and slammed into a pickup truck. The man had a blood alcohol level of .23 or almost three times the legal limit. As a result of the accident, five of the six passengers in the truck were killed, including a mother, father, two girls, ages 11 and 12 and a 3 year old boy. The only survivor was a 15 year old girl. The Houston girl spent months in a coma with doctors thinking she may not survive. When the girl awoke, she was told she would probably never walk again. On the day of the man’s trial was set to begin, the now 16-year old addressed the court. While she relies on a wheelchair, she is now able to walk about 70 feet. But there are still scars on her face from that fatal day.

Had the man not accepted the plea deal, he could have faced a sentence of up to 110 years in prison. Now the man will have to serve 10 years for each of the five charges and will have to serve half of each sentence before he is parole eligible or approximately 25 years.

If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving, the first thing you need to do is to make an appointment to meet with an experienced Dallas County DWI Defense Attorney. A skilled Texas DWI Defense Attorney will carefully review the facts of your case and examine your legal options with you. DWI is a serious crime and men and women who have been charged with same need an attorney who will take the charges just as seriously. As a former prosecutor, Jack Pettit has represented countless persons charged with DWI and knows what it takes to fight a charge of DWI and win. To have Attorney Jack Pettit review your case, contact the Law Office of Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation. Our office provides services to clients in both English and Spanish. Major credit cards are accepted as well.

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