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Texas DWI Intoxication Manslaughter: Frequently Asked Questions

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How do I pick a Texas intoxication manslaughter lawyer?

Facing charges for intoxication manslaughter in Texas? Intoxication manslaughter is the most serious DWI charge that a person can face in a Texas court of law, where prosecutors are unlikely to be lenient and will fight to impose life-altering penalties for those convicted. Serious charges like these require serious lawyers. 

It would be a mistake to hire the first attorney you see, or the attorney who has their face on the biggest billboard — you need an attorney who actually wins intoxication manslaughter cases and has the case results to prove it. Here’s the thing: there aren’t many of those. 

Many of the lawyers calling themselves intoxication manslaughter attorneys in Texas haven’t even tried and won an intoxication manslaughter case — but Mark Thiessen has, many times over. 

Mark Thiessen is the only lawyer in America who is triple board-certified in criminal law and DWI,* and he’s here to answer some frequently asked questions about intoxication manslaughter in Texas. 

If you or a loved one has been charged with intoxication manslaughter, don’t wait. Call Mark today at (713) 864-9000 to begin defending your freedom.

Q: What is intoxication manslaughter in Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code § 49.08, a person commits intoxication manslaughter if they operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and by reason of that intoxication cause the death of another individual

Intoxication manslaughter is distinct from intoxication assault, which occurs when someone is operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and by reason of that intoxication causes someone to suffer serious bodily injury. Intoxication assault, while being a slightly lesser charge, can still saddle you with hefty fines and prison sentences.

Q: What is the difference between intoxication manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter in Texas?

Intoxication manslaughter is a charge that is unique to the state of Texas. In other states, this charge is often referred to as gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DWI manslaughter, or intoxication vehicular manslaughter.

Vehicular manslaughter occurs when a person causes the death of another while driving a motor vehicle “through reckless or negligent driving behavior.” The charges are very similar, with the key difference being the intoxication of it all. A sentence for vehicular manslaughter will come with steep punishments, but intoxication manslaughter punishments are often even steeper.

Q: How many years do you get for intoxication manslaughter in Texas?

Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas and can be upgraded to a first-degree felony if you cause the death of a public servant, firefighter, or emergency service member. Penalties for a second-degree felony conviction include:

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

That’s right, intoxication manslaughter Texas sentences can last up to 20 years. A charge for intoxication manslaughter could very well be the end of your freedom as you know it, and your intoxication manslaughter lawyer could be your last lifeline. So pick a good one.

Q: What is the penalty for first-time intoxication manslaughter?

Unlike a charge for DWI in Texas first offense, first-time intoxication manslaughter charges are not misdemeanors. Your first offense for intox manslaughter will automatically be a second-degree felony DWI, despite any circumstances or how perfect your record may be.

The bond for intoxication manslaughter is also very high. Because intoxication manslaughter is considered a crime of moral turpitude, bail is often set somewhere around $50,000, and is sometimes even higher.

Q: Can I face charges for both DWI and intoxication manslaughter in Texas?

You will not face charges for both DWI and intoxication manslaughter, because intoxication manslaughter is a DWI charge. Because intoxication manslaughter punishments are steeper than a normal DWI charge, the court would never elect to charge you with a lesser DWI charge — unless their hand was forced by your lawyer.

Although your attorney should be playing to win, getting an intoxication manslaughter charge reduced to a normal DWI charge is sometimes a possibility, and can result in less severe consequences.

Q: Can I face charges of intoxication manslaughter in Texas for driving on prescription medication?

Yes, you can face charges for intoxication manslaughter for being on prescription medication. The thing about prescription medication DWI in general is that intoxication by prescription meds isn’t measurable, meaning you can likely be arrested if the officer thinks you are under the influence of something

If the police only have their judgment and your word to go on, there will also be a lot less evidence that can be used to arrest or convict you. As is the golden rule with all interactions with the police: keep your mouth shut and call your lawyer.

Q: Are there defenses to a charge of intoxication manslaughter in Texas?

While beating a charge for intoxication manslaughter is not easy, it definitely is not impossible. Your attorney will try to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you caused a death due to reckless, intoxicated driving. However, only an experienced attorney can achieve this defense strategy.

Mark Thiessen has won many intoxication manslaughter cases, and he can help you with yours. Read about a few of the people whose freedom Mark Thiessen has won:

Have more questions about intoxication manslaughter in Texas? Call Thiessen Law Firm today.

We hope you’ve learned a thing or two from our Texas DWI intoxication manslaughter FAQ, but the most important takeaway is to hire the right attorney the first time. You only get one chance at winning back your freedom, so make sure you’ve got a lawyer in your corner who isn’t afraid to go to court, argue in front of a judge or jury, and win

If you or a loved one has been charged with intoxication manslaughter in Texas, you don’t have much time. The prosecution is building their case against you, and you need someone to start building your defense before it’s too late. 
Call Mark Thiessen at Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Don’t give up hope, your future is worth the fight.

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