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Houston Intoxication Manslaughter Lawyer

Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Criminal Law
DUI Defense Lawyers Association Board Certified
National College for DUI Defense Board Certified
Super Lawyers 2013-2020
Super Lawyers Top 100 in Houston & Texas
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Super Lawyers Rising Star 2010-2013

Houston Intoxication Manslaughter Lawyer 

Searching for a Houston intoxication manslaughter lawyer? Odds are, you are about to have to make some tough decisions very quickly. Because as you read this a prosecutor is already working with law enforcement to build their case against you or your loved one.

You need an experienced and aggressive board-certified DWI attorney who has trial-tested experience handling intoxication manslaughter cases. Mark Thiessen is one of only a handful of Houston intoxication manslaughter lawyers who can truly, legally, call himself a DWI specialist and is also the only lawyer in the country who is triple board-certified in the following categories: 

  • 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

Here, Thiessen Law Firm has put together a brief overview of what you need to know about Texas intoxication manslaughter cases. But remember: one of the best defenses against intoxication manslaughter in Houston is to get an experienced attorney working on your case and preserving important evidence ASAP. 

If you have been charged with intoxication manslaughter in Texas, call Mark Thiessen to discuss your case: 713-864-9000. We’re here for you 24/7. 

What other intoxication manslaughter lawyers in Houston won’t tell you

Before we get too deep into the specifics of Texas intoxication manslaughter cases, we want to take a moment to stress something that we believe is very important: Not all intoxication manslaughter lawyers in Houston are made equal. 

Very few Houston DWI lawyers that pop up in searches have successfully tried intoxication manslaughter cases. That’s because it takes a special kind of defense attorney to actually WIN a case in the District Court. To be blunt, you’d be hard-pressed to find another intoxication manslaughter lawyer in Houston that has won intoxication manslaughter cases in court, let alone a lawyer who has multiple victories like Mark Thiessen of Thiessen Law Firm. 

While intoxication manslaughter cases do not occur often, we are the go-to firm for these serious cases and have successfully tried intoxication manslaughter cases just like yours. Here some victories from our intoxication manslaughter team in Houston:

The fact of the matter is that not every Houston attorney knows how to beat a DWI, much less Houston intoxication manslaughter charges. Don’t be fooled by loud billboards or glossy commercials. We’ve actually won cases.

What is intoxication manslaughter?

The intoxication manslaughter definition sounds similar to some other charges. It’s easy to confuse Houston intoxication manslaughter charges with charges like vehicular manslaughter or intoxication assault, so we’ve outlined the differences for you.

  • Intoxication Manslaughter: According to Texas Penal Code Ann. § 49.08, intoxication manslaughter in Texas is “the charge a person receives for causing a fatal motor vehicle accident while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.” In other words, intoxication manslaughter (also called DWI manslaughter) occurs when an individual was driving while intoxicated and caused the death of another person. This law applies only when someone is driving a vehicle and is particular to the state of Texas. 
  • Vehicular Manslaughter:  Vehicular manslaughter occurs “When a person causes the death of another human as a result of reckless or negligent driving behavior.” As you can see, vehicular manslaughter is, in many ways, very similar to intoxication manslaughter, except in the case of vehicular manslaughter, the driver was not intoxicated
  • Intoxication Assault: Intoxication assault occurs when someone is “Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated when another person suffers serious bodily injury as a result of such intoxication.” The main difference between intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter is that the accident resulted in an injury as opposed to death. For more information on intoxication assault, please see our article “What is Intoxication Assault in Texas?” 

For more information about the differences between these charges in terms of definitions, fees, jail time, etc., please see our article: “The Difference Between Murder, Manslaughter, Intoxication Manslaughter & Vehicular Manslaughter in Texas.”

Intoxication manslaughter penalties and fees

Why does selecting the best Houston intoxication manslaughter attorney matter so much? In Texas, a first-time DWI charge alone can put you $2,000 in the hole and take away your driver’s license for up to one year. Put simply, if you are being accused of intoxication manslaughter, you had better get a strong team to stand behind you.

Intoxication manslaughter in Houston is a second-degree felony — a severe charge with harsh penalties. If you are convicted, you may be facing:

  • 2-20 years in jail 
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • A minimum of 240 hours of community service, with a possibility of 800 more  

Of course, the consequences of being a convicted felon extend beyond jail time, fines, and community service. Felons often face difficulty finding employment or housing, and your reputation and relationship may have suffered greatly as a result of your conviction. 

For more information about these penalties, please see our articles: “Penalties for Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas” and “Jail Sentences for Intoxication Manslaughter & Vehicular Manslaughter in Texas.

Defense against Houston intoxication manslaughter charges

Those accused of intoxication manslaughter often feel as if they are convicted the second they are charged, but this simply isn’t true. Like anyone accused of a crime, those accused of intoxication manslaughter are still innocent until proven guilty. An expert DWI attorney like Mark Thiessen will work hard to hold judges and juries alike to the standard of presumed innocence.  

In order to convict you of intoxication manslaughter, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone caused a death due to reckless, intoxicated driving. There are two main ways to hinder the prosecution from proving this: 

  • Disprove that you were intoxicated beyond a reasonable doubt
  • Disprove that the accident was caused because of said intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt

Your defense lawyer may also pursue the defense that your rights were violated during the stop, and that the evidence against you was illegally obtained. 

1. Disproving intoxication

One of the most important factors of proving guilt in an intoxication manslaughter charge is establishing that the accused was legally intoxicated at the time of the fatal accident. 

Title 10, chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code defines the state of intoxication as occurring when a person does not have “the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body,” or when they have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

Just because you were involved in a fatal accident and are accused of being intoxicated at the time does not mean available evidence can support those claims. That’s because all existing options for determining intoxication have significant room for error: 

  • Breath and blood tests: Breath tests are notoriously unreliable, and blood tests can be compromised by bad lab work and human error. As a uniquely qualified Forensic Lawyer-Scientist, Mark Thiesen possesses the necessary scientific knowledge to effectively challenge any bad evidence of intoxication in an intoxication manslaughter case.
  • Field sobriety tests: Field sobriety tests are known to be highly questionable and subjective and have documented accuracy issues. Completely sober people have failed FSTs. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your defense lawyer may challenge that the test was properly administered.  

Mark Thiessen has earned a reputation in Texas for his unique knowledge of the fallibilities of breath tests, blood tests, and field sobriety tests. If there were any issues with how these tests were administered or handled in your case, Thiessen Law Firm has the experience needed to identify those issues and present them convincingly in court. 

2. Disproving the accident was caused by intoxication 

In accidents involving an intoxicated individual, it’s easy for many people to jump to the conclusion that alcohol was the main culprit behind the wreck. This simply isn’t true. The accident may have been caused by bad road conditions, by the other driver, or even by a defect in your vehicle. In other cases, your lawyer may be able to make a case for your innocence based on the idea that the accident occurred during a moment of temporary insanity, heat of passion, or as a means of self-defense. 

These defenses negate that the idea that the accident was caused because of an individual’s intoxication. If your defense attorney proves that intoxication wasn’t the cause of the accident, then the prosecution no longer has a strong case. 

3. Disproving that your constitutional rights were upheld

Whether you know them or not, you have rights during a traffic stop. Police officers must uphold these rights, but oftentimes they don’t uphold the fourth amendment (unreasonable search and seizures) or fifth amendment (Miranda rights – your right to remain silent), etc. If this happened during your traffic stop, then chances are the evidence against you was not lawfully obtained, making it inadmissible in court. An experienced intoxication manslaughter lawyer in Houston will always ask you about what happened during your traffic stop (and review any available footage) to see if these issues apply to your case. 

No matter what type of defense we use, this much is true: Thiessen Law Firm knows how to win intoxication manslaughter cases in Texas. As an experienced intoxication manslaughter lawyer in Houston, Mark Thiessen’s goal is always a Not Guilty verdict. Barring that possibility, we will fight for a reduction of your sentence, including intoxication manslaughter probation

How to choose your intoxication manslaughter lawyer in Houston 

You should choose a Houston intoxication manslaughter lawyer carefully, yet quickly. When you go in for consultations, make sure to ask the lawyer and yourself: 

  • Does this attorney have a proven track record of beating charges of intoxication manslaughter in Houston or Texas? 
  • Has this attorney obtained the specialization and expertise necessary to defend such complex charges? 
  • Do I feel comfortable putting my future and reputation in the hands of this person?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, walk away. Do not feel pressured about “looking without buying.” It is your future that’s at stake. 

Thiessen Law Firm: Defense by one of the best intoxication manslaughter lawyers in Houston and the country 

If you’ve been charged with intoxication manslaughter, hope is not lost. Thiessen Law firm is home to a Houston intoxication manslaughter lawyer who can make Not Guilty verdicts possible.

Mark Thiessen is a triple board-certified lawyer, a true DWI specialist, a SuperLawyer, and an accredited Lawyer-Scientist with a proven track record of Not Guilty verdicts for intoxication manslaughter cases. He possesses the unique expertise necessary to defend those accused of intoxication manslaughter. 

Don’t let the prosecutors building a case against you get the upper hand. You are entitled to aggressive, top-quality representation. Contact Thiessen Law Firm day or night to set up your free initial consultation today: 713-864-9000.

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