Intoxication manslaughter in Texas is a serious DWI charge reserved for DWIs in which the defendant’s intoxication behind the wheel causes the death of another person. Intoxication manslaughter charges are much more serious than any standard DWI charge; they come with severe penalties that are pursued aggressively by Texas court prosecutors. 

If you plan on beating an intoxication manslaughter charge in Texas, you need an attorney to begin building your defense right now, as you can be sure the prosecution is already building the case against you. 

Mark Thiessen is one of very few DWI attorneys in Houston who can actually call themselves intoxication manslaughter attorneys, and we’re going to tell you why. For starters, Mark is the only lawyer in the country who is triple board-certified in Criminal Law and DWI*, and one of few attorneys in Houston who has actually fought and won multiple intoxication manslaughter cases.

If you or a loved one is facing an intoxication manslaughter charge in Texas, call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 to discuss your case. 

*Mark Thiessen’s Board Certifications include:

  • Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • DUI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense as approved through the American Bar Association
  • DUI Law by the DUI Defense Lawyers Association
  • Board Certified Advocate Criminal Trial Law by the NBTA Foundation

What is intoxication manslaughter in Texas?

As defined in Texas Penal Code § 49.08, a person commits an intoxication manslaughter offense if the person…

  • Operates a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride; and
  • is intoxicated and, by reason of that intoxication, causes the death of another by accident or mistake.

You will be charged with intoxication manslaughter if you cause a fatal motor vehicle crash due to intoxication from drugs or alcohol. This charge is unique to the state of Texas and is called gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated or intoxication vehicular manslaughter in other states. 

What other lawyers won’t tell you about facing an intoxication manslaughter charge

Intoxication manslaughter cases are not very common. For this reason, most lawyers who claim to be intoxication manslaughter experts have actually not had the ability to take many cases for intoxication manslaughter to trial. 

Very few of the lawyers that purport to be intoxication manslaughter lawyers have actually taken these manslaughter cases to trial and won — but Mark Thiessen has. Here are just a few of those wins:

Here’s the thing: if you’ve been charged with intoxication manslaughter in Texas, you only have one shot at freedom. You don’t have the luxury of hiring a budget lawyer or the flashy lawyer from the billboard, you need to hire the lawyer who wins intoxication manslaughter cases the first time around. 

What are the elements of intoxication manslaughter in Texas?

The prosecution will have to prove three essential elements if they want to convict you of intoxication manslaughter. 

1. Operating a vehicle in a public place

The first element is also generally the easiest to prove. It must first be proved that you were operating a motor vehicle, which can also be a boat, a plane, or even a carnival ride, according to the Texas penal code. 

No matter what the motor vehicle is determined to be, if you are operating it while intoxicated and it causes the death of another, you’ll be looking at an intoxication manslaughter charge. 

2. Voluntary intoxication

The second essential element of a Texas intoxication manslaughter case is a “voluntary state of intoxication.” This means that a person has to intentionally and knowingly become intoxicated to be charged with intoxication manslaughter in Texas. 

This does not apply to going out for drinks after work and believing that you were “good to drive” when you actually weren’t, but rather being given an intoxicant unknowingly or taking something that you couldn’t have known would cause intoxication. 

3. Causation of the accident and death

Lastly, the prosecution must prove that the accident in question was caused by your intoxication, not other external factors, and that the accident was what caused the death of the person. 

Beating intoxication manslaughter charges usually happens by either disproving intoxication, disproving that the accident was caused by your intoxication, or proving that your constitutional rights were not upheld. 

What is the punishment for intoxication manslaughter in Texas?

The average sentence for intoxication manslaughter in Texas is long and carries mandatory minimum prison time. They’re longer than the average sentence for vehicular manslaughterand the average sentence for a DWI charge. Not to mention bond for intoxication manslaughter, because it is considered to be a crime of moral turpitude, is usually around $50,000 — if not higher. 

If you’re convicted of intoxication manslaughter in Texas you can expect the following consequences: 

  • 2 – 20 years in prison
  • $10,000 fine
  • 240 – 1,040 hours of community service

Intoxication manslaughter punishments are steep, there are no two ways about it. If you’ve been charged with intoxication manslaughter, the only way to retain your freedom and keep your life intact is to win your case.

Looking for an attorney who can actually win an intoxication manslaughter case? Call Mark Thiessen today.

Don’t lose hope. If you’ve been charged with intoxication manslaughter in Texas, you’ve still got the opportunity to put the right people in your corner. Remember, hiring the best felony DWI lawyer that you can find is your last line of defense against the life-altering penalties associated with intoxication manslaughter. 

Mark Thiessen is a triple board-certified DWI attorney and an ACS-CHAL Lawyer-Scientist with a proven track record of winning complex DWI and intoxication manslaughter cases in Texas. If Mark can’t win your case, we don’t know who can. 

Call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online to begin defending your freedom.

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Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.