A drunk driving case becomes significantly more complex when there is a fatality involved. Prosecutors, judges, and juries treat such cases very harshly, and there may be a wide range of potential charges and penalties. If you have been charged with a DWI that led to a person’s death, a Lubbock intoxication manslaughter lawyer may be able to help build an effective defense. Reach out to a DWI attorney as soon as possible.
Standard of Proof for Intoxicated Manslaughter
The government must carefully investigate instances of alleged vehicular manslaughter. If there is any problem or mistake in the investigation, the defendant can attack part or all of the probe and the resulting evidence. The government’s burden is proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was drunk and that the driver’s intoxication caused the other party’s death. Establishing this level of guilt is not an easy standard to meet, and prosecutors may offer plea deals to a defendant to secure a conviction, even on a lesser charge than manslaughter.
A Lubbock intoxicated manslaughter lawyer could collect valuable evidence from the accident scene, police reports, and other sources to find holes or inconsistencies in the state’s case. They could also cross-examine witnesses, negotiate with prosecutors, and do everything possible to help a defendant avoid serious criminal penalties.
Intoxicated Manslaughter Statute
Texas law defines intoxicated manslaughter in Penal Code § 49.08. A person is guilty if they are drunk and cause the death of another person while operating one of the following:
- Motor vehicle
- Boat or other water devices
- Amusement ride
Under Texas law, involuntary manslaughter is a second-degree felony.
If the court convicts a person of manslaughter while driving drunk, the court may send that person to jail for two to 20 years and order them to pay a fine of $10,000. If more than one person died, the court might issue separate sentences for each death, and the penalties may be cumulative. If other people involved did not die, but were injured, the court may add on additional punishments for each injury.
The prosecutor may claim that driving a vehicle while intoxicated constitutes killing with a deadly weapon. If the court agrees, the driver may face more time in prison and be ineligible for probation. A criminal defense lawyer could build a defense to a deadly weapon charge and help a defendant avoid the increased penalties associated with it.
A Lubbock Intoxication Manslaughter Lawyer May be Able to Help
If you are facing DWI charges related to the death of another person, you need to prepare an aggressive defense plan to ensure the best outcome in your circumstances. You may find it helpful to seek an attorney’s advice at the earliest possible time. A Lubbock intoxication manslaughter lawyer could aid you in understanding the prosecution’s argument and what you can expect going forward while also working to build the best possible defense to the underlying charges. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following an arrest.