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You have been involved in a severe car accident. Officers arrive on the scene. The officer believes you may be intoxicated. He inquires about what you did that day; if you had anything to drink; what time you had your last drink; etc. He takes you through the field sobriety exercises. He asks you to submit to a breath or blood test. You refuse. He arrests you and obtains a warrant to draw your blood. If any of the persons in the other vehicle have sustained “serious bodily injury” you may be charged with intoxication assault.
Intoxication Assault under Texas Law:
Intoxication Assault can be found in Texas Penal Code §49.07, which provides:
(a) A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake:
(1) while operating an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated, or while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another; or
(2) as a result of assembling a mobile amusement ride while intoxicated causes serious bodily injury to another.
Serious bodily injury is defined in Texas Penal Code §1.07(46) as injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death (intoxication manslaughter), serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
Intoxication Assault Punishment Ranges:
Intoxication Assault is a Third Degree Felony with a punishment range of 2 – 10 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. The potential for prison is only the tip of the iceberg with an endless list of collateral consequences for an Intoxication Assault (e.g. license suspensions, surcharges, restitution, interlock devices, employment consequences, etc.). Understand that this is only the punishment range. Hiring the right Intoxication Assault Criminal Defense Lawyers can be the difference in having a conviction or not, in going to prison or not.
Intoxication Assault accusations are enhanced to a 2nd degree felony with a punishment range of 2 – 20 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine if:
- the person with the serious bodily injury is a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel while in the actual discharge of an official duty (Texas Penal Code §49.09 (b-1));
- if the person with the serious bodily injury is left in a “persistent vegetative state.” (Texas Penal Code §49.09 (b-4)).
What was the cause of the Intoxication Assault?
In order to be convicted for Intoxication Assault the State must produce evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that you were not only intoxicated, but your intoxication was the cause of the resulting harm. In other words, but for the alleged intoxication, the accident and serious bodily injury would not have occurred. Your Intoxication Assault Criminal Defense Lawyer will deploy a strategic investigation to determine the cause of the accident. The prosecutors may believe your intoxication was the cause, but there is likely another cause, a greater cause yet to be developed. When another source is the cause, a “concurrent cause” will be raised. A concurrent cause is based on the principle that a factor other than your intoxication caused the result.