The Best Defense Strategies Are Based In Experience

Injuring another due to drunk driving is a crime

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2023 | DWI

Texas considers driving while intoxicated (DWI) a crime. Any driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) level is at least 0.08% or whose physical and mental faculties are impaired due to a combination of drugs and alcohol can face charges. On conviction, drivers must serve jail time, pay fines and a license suspension.

DWIs are handed out to drunk motorists to curb dangerous driving behavior. But what happens if you’ve already injured someone due to your inebriated driving?

If you drove while drunk and caused an accident that severely harmed another person, an officer can additionally charge you with intoxication assault. What is this criminal charge, and what penalties await you on conviction?

Intoxication assault

Under Texas law, a driver commits intoxication assault if their drunk driving caused an accident resulting in serious bodily injury to another person. “Serious bodily injury” can include injuries such as limb loss, brain damage and extensive scarring. Any injury that’s potentially fatal or leads to permanent impairment or disfigurement counts as a serious bodily injury.

If you’re charged with intoxication assault, you potentially face a third-degree felony conviction. The conviction carries a maximum $10,000 fine and a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

These penalties are enhanced if your drunk driving caused serious bodily injury to a firefighter or an emergency medical services personnel on duty. This conviction is a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum $10,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison.

Further enhancements exist for drunk drivers who injure a peace officer or judge. If you’re convicted, you face a first-degree felony, with a maximum $10,000 fine and life imprisonment (or up to 99 years of jail time, up to the court’s discretion).

These penalties are in addition to the punishments you might face for a DWI conviction.

Just like DWIs, intoxication assault is a crime in Texas. But unlike DWIs, which are usually misdemeanors, intoxication assault charges can lead to felony convictions. If you face charges, you might want to carefully consider your legal options before attending your court hearing.