Although a DWI absent of any special circumstances is a serious crime, it’s comparatively much less serious than a DWI alleged to have caused serious bodily injury or death to anyone else.
Causing an accident resulting in injuries while intoxicated is charged as intoxication assault, which can be penalized with many years in prison and steep fines. Even worse penalties may apply if the injured party suffered certain kinds of injuries or was an emergency responder, police officer, or judge.
What Is Serious Bodily Injury?
Serious bodily injury is an important condition that must be met to convict someone of intoxication assault and many other crimes that cause injury to someone else.
In Texas, serious bodily injury refers to the following:
- The injuries resulted in permanent disfigurement
- The injuries caused long-term disability
- The injuries caused the loss/impairment of a limb or organ
- The injuries created a substantial risk of death
Penalties for Intoxicated Driving & Causing Injury
In Texas, most DWIs are charged as misdemeanors. This means that the wort penalties someone may face include up to a year in jail, a driver’s license suspension, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and mandatory participation in alcohol or substance treatment programs.
DWIs that include felony charges, however, can result in much harsher penalties. When someone is charged with intoxication assault in connection with an alleged DWI, they may face 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted.
Special Circumstances Can Result in Harsher Penalties
The consequences of a conviction for a DWI causing serious bodily injury may be elevated under special circumstances.
For example, if the alleged victim suffered from traumatic brain injury or was an on-duty emergency medical professional or firefighter, the intoxication assault charge is elevated from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony. The penalties for conviction can be as severe as 20 years in prison in this case.
Five to 99 years of imprisonment may be imposed when the victim was an on-duty police officer or judge, elevating the intoxication assault charge to a first-degree felony.
Penalties for a Drunken Driving Accident Resulting in Death
Unfortunately, many drunken driving accidents result in death. When anyone dies in such an accident, the driver accused of driving while intoxicated may face intoxication manslaughter charges.
Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony and is punished with 2-20 years of imprisonment upon conviction. A fine of up to $10,000 may also apply. For each individual who was killed during an alleged DWI accident, an intoxication manslaughter charge may be applied. This means a conviction for a serious accident causing multiple deaths can effectively result in life imprisonment.
Contact a Lawyer for Legal Assistance
The Alband Law Firm understand that being charged with a DWI involving injury or death is an incredibly serious matter. If you or someone you know has been accused of such a crime, our experienced attorneys can provide the legal support and guidance needed to navigate through this difficult situation.
We are committed to helping clients understand their rights under the law and ensure that they receive fair treatment throughout all stages of the legal process. Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling these complex cases, and we will work tirelessly to build a strong defense on behalf of each client we represent.
For more information about how we can help, contact us today.