Because of the recent event concerning two Dallas Cowboys, I thought I would take the time to explain the offense of Intoxication Manslaughter.
Intoxication Manslaughter is found in section 49.08 of the Texas Penal Code. The statute reads:
(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) Operates a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride; and
(2) Is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.
(b) …an offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.
A second degree felony can be found in section 12.33 of the Texas Penal Code. The statute reads:
(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 20 years or less than 2 years.
(b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
In Texas, the legal limit for driving while intoxicated is .08. As you've just read, the Texas Penal Code only requires the State to prove that a defendant was legally intoxicated while driving and someone else died as a result. Both DWI and Intoxication Assault are lesser included offenses within Intoxication Manslaughter. A lesser included offense is a lesser crime whose elements are encompassed by a greater crime. The lesser included offenses share some, but not all, of the elements of the greater criminal offense. Thus, the greater offense cannot be committed without also committing the lesser offenses. For example, to be charged with a DWI, the state must prove that a person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. Further, to be charged with Intoxication Assault, the State must prove the elements of DWI as well as that by accident or mistake, serious bodily injury was caused to another.
The dangers of driving while intoxicated are shown with every life taken because of an intoxicated driver. As displayed by the tragic, most recent event with the Dallas Cowboys, every incident is heartbreaking yet still a crime. If you find yourself in these unfortunate circumstances, the Alband Firm can help sort through the mess and our expertise can help you defend yourself.