It won’t surprise you to hear that penalties for intoxication manslaughter are incredibly severe, more so than any standard DWI charge, but what about the punishment for first-timers? What is the penalty for first-time intoxication manslaughter?

The penalties for intox manslaughter in Texas are steep no matter what for those convicted of the crime. The only way to avoid serving time in prison is often to be found “Not Guilty” by a judge or jury, which is no small feat. Although first-timers are rarely given a break in sentencing for having no prior offenses, it is certainly better to go to court as a non-repeat offender with no history of arrests for intoxication manslaughter. 

Mark Thiessen and the intoxication manslaughter attorneys at Thiessen Law Firm are here to walk you through some of the intricacies of facing a first-time intoxication manslaughter charge, and what you might do to protect your freedom. 

If you or a loved one has been charged with intoxication manslaughter, you don’t have much time. Mark Thiessen is a triple board certified intoxication manslaughter attorney with many “Not Guilty” verdicts in intoxication manslaughter cases under his belt. If you want to protect your freedom, you’re going to want to talk to Mark. Call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 for a case evaluation.

What is intoxication manslaughter?

Before we get into what punishments might look like for first-time intoxication manslaughter, we must first define the relevant terms. What does intoxicated manslaughter mean? Texas defines intoxication manslaughter in Texas Penal Code § 49.08, as:

  • Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated; and 
  • Because of that intoxication, causing the death of another individual.

Intoxication manslaughter takes place when a person is driving under the influence and causes the death of another person. It is essentially a DWI charge and a homicide charge lumped into one. 

The main difference between a homicide charge and an intoxication manslaughter charge is that to charge a person with homicide, the court often has to prove intent or premeditation, but to charge a person with intoxication manslaughter, it need only be provided that the person was “criminally negligent,” and driving while intoxicated qualifies as criminal negligence.  

What is the penalty for intoxication manslaughter?

What is the penalty for first-time intoxication manslaughter? If you’ve been charged with intoxication manslaughter in Texas, the courts are not going to go easy on you — even if it’s your first time ever facing a DWI charge. 

The penalties and sentencing for a first-time intoxication manslaughter charge are the same as those for any intoxication manslaughter charge. What is the sentence for intoxication manslaughter in Texas? Convictions for intoxication manslaughter in Texas, whether your first or third, can include:

  • 2 – 20 years in prison
  • State fines of up to $10,000, as well as $2,000 per year in DWI surcharges
  • 240 – 1,040 hours of mandated community service
  • Up to two years of license suspension

While these penalties are as steep as it gets for DWI offenses, and Texas intoxication manslaughter average sentences are often long, the real punishment associated with intoxication manslaughter is often the ruin that it can bring on both your personal and professional lives. As a convicted felon, you will likely have trouble finding work and housing and therefore may experience difficulty keeping your family and financial situations stable after doing time in prison. 

There is, however, one bright spot: you haven’t been convicted yet. And you don’t have to be. Hire the best intoxication manslaughter attorney Houston has to offer, and ask them to fight for your life. 

Is it possible to get probation for intoxication manslaughter in Texas?

Probation for an intoxication manslaughter charge is a possibility in Texas. But it doesn’t happen all that often. The judge and jury are unlikely to be lenient if they are able to prove that you are culpable for the death of another person. Your hope should be that your lawyer can secure you a “Not Guilty” verdict, and allow you to avoid conviction altogether. 

If you are convicted, intoxication manslaughter probation in Texas is a rarity, and even if you secure probation you’ll need to spend a minimum of 180 days in jail. While 180 days in prison is a lot better than 20 years, your lawyer’s goal shouldn’t be to lessen your sentence. It should be to prove that you are not guilty. 

How we beat charges for intoxication manslaughter 

While beating an intoxication manslaughter charge isn’t easy, it is totally possible with the right attorney in your corner. Mark Thiessen has secured a number of “Not Guilty” verdicts for his clients facing intoxication manslaughter charges, and there are a number of ways that he does it. 

  1. Disprove that you were intoxicated at the time of the accident. This is often the first thing that your DWI lawyer will attempt during your defense. This can either be done by challenging the results of toxicology reports, calling into question poor police work, or exposing the fact that your rights were violated at some point in the process.
  2. Disprove that the accident was caused by your intoxication. Also called contributory negligence, the victim or another third party could have caused the accident, having nothing to do with one driver’s intoxication. 
  3. Argue that conditions outside of the defendant’s control caused the accident. These can include medical issues, hazardous road conditions, or environmental factors, and they often play a larger role in accidents than the judges are willing to consider.

How your attorney chooses to fight your intoxication manslaughter charges will depend entirely on the circumstances of your case. All you can do is keep calm and make sure you’ve hired an attorney who goes to trial and wins cases. 

Facing charges for intoxication manslaughter in Texas? Call Thiessen Law Firm today.

So, what is the penalty for first-time intoxication manslaughter? Aside from the hefty fines and prison times the most serious penalty of all is the potential a conviction can have on the rest of your life — even for first-timers. Your best bet? Make sure you hire an attorney who is up to the task, who will hold the judge and jury to the highest standards of the law, and give you a real shot at walking away with your freedom. 

Mark Thiessen is a trial lawyer who wins intoxication manslaughter cases. He is also an ACS-CHAL Lawyer Scientist, who is the only attorney in America triple board certified in the following: 

  • 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 in Criminal Trial Law by the NBTA Foundation

If you need to win your case, you need to call Thiessen Law Firm, it’s as simple as that. Give us a call today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online to begin fighting for your future. 

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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.