Is intoxication manslaughter probation a possibility in Texas? In other words, if you’re found guilty of intoxication manslaughter, can your sentence be suspended and community supervision be handed down instead?

While probation is possible with intoxication manslaughter cases, it’s not always likely. Intoxication manslaughter cases are taken very seriously in Texas, and they can come with some pretty serious penalties, including up to 10 years in prison and nearly $20,000 in fines.

Let’s take a look at what intoxication manslaughter means in Texas, what the penalties are, and what probation with intoxication manslaughter might require.

What is intoxication manslaughter in Texas?

Before we get into discussion intoxication manslaughter probation, let’s cover the basics of intoxication manslaughter in Texas. When you’ve been hit with an intoxication manslaughter charge, this means you allegedly caused a fatality while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol (which necessitates a blood alcohol level of .08 or more). 

In intoxication manslaughter cases, the fatality was not due to premeditation but instead, criminal negligence. You may not have meant any harm or wrongdoing with your reckless operation of a vehicle, but it caused the death of a person nonetheless.

Keep in mind, “reckless behavior” doesn’t necessarily need to be proven in court. When you operate a vehicle while intoxicated, that is reckless behavior in and of itself. Another thing to remember is that “vehicle” can expand to cover a wide range of things — from cars and boats to forklifts and amusement park rides. It could even include a golf cart. As a rule of thumb: if it moves, it’s likely included.

Keep Reading: Vehicular Manslaughter in Texas vs. Intoxication Manslaughter vs. Manslaughter

What are intoxication manslaughter penalties?

In Texas, intoxication manslaughter fines and additional penalties can be harsh (which is likely why you would rather be facing intoxication manslaughter probation). Here’s what you can expect when it comes to the penalty for intoxication manslaughter in Texas:

Prison Time: up to 20 years in prison

Fines: up to $10,000 in initial fines

Community Service: up to 240 hours hours of community service

License suspension: up to a 2-year license suspension

Annual Fees: up to a $2,000 fee per year for up to 3 years

Obviously, up to 20 years in prison and over $10,000 in fines and fees isn’t exactly appealing. However, there are ways to beat an intoxication manslaughter charge… but only with the right representation and the right defense tactics employed. To learn more about possible defenses, check out our list of questions regarding intoxication manslaughter in Texas.

Can you get probation for intoxication manslaughter?

Now for the big question: Can you get probation for intoxication manslaughter? While this certainly varies case by case, probation is definitely a possibility. However, intoxication manslaughter probation is rare in Texas, and you need to make sure your case is handled in a way that allows you to actually qualify for this scenario (which is just one of the major reasons you need to invest in a good lawyer). 

One important thing to note when it comes to an intoxication manslaughter charge and probation is that you’re almost always required to serve a minimum time period in jail beforehand. This minimum period can entail anywhere between 120 and 180 days in jail. 

Long story short, even if you do end up with probation, you can’t avoid jail time altogether. But still, 180 days in jail is a whole lot better than 10 years. 

Whether you’re seeking a Not Guilty verdict or probation, you will need a Houston intoxication manslaughter lawyer. As we’ve said a few times, Texans take intoxication manslaughter very seriously, and you’ll need top-tier representation to get out of this situation without a 10-year jail sentence in your future.

Have you been charged with intoxication manslaughter in Texas?

An intoxication manslaughter charge can feel like the end of the world. It is a particularly scary charge that can end very poorly if you don’t take the situation seriously from day one, and your first step should always be to contact a lawyer. 

At Thiessen Law Firm, we have hands-on experience with a variety of intoxication manslaughter cases, including cases that end in Not Guilty verdicts and probation. With Mark Thiessen, a lawyer scientist and one of the youngest Super Lawyers in Texas on our team, we have what it takes to help you overcome an intoxication manslaughter charge. 

If you want any good at all to come from such a tragic situation, investing in a top-rated law firm such as Thiessen Law Firm is a necessity when you’re facing intoxication manslaughter charges. If you’re ready to start fighting for your freedom, give us a call today or contact us online. We are ready and waiting to help.

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Mark Thiessen

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.