Manslaughter occurs when a person causes the death of an individual without intent. Intent refers to not planning to kill someone. The intent to kill someone does not exist when a person is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Intoxication refers to the amount of alcohol in a person’s body depending of various factors such as food consumption, weight, and types of drinks consumed. When measured, the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood is called the blood alcohol content (BAC). It is illegal in many states to have a BAC level over a certain limit. Texas has a criminal law that combines both intoxication and manslaughter crimes.
How Is Intoxication Manslaughter Defined in Texas?
A person is guilty of this crime when, while intoxicated, they:
- Operate an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement park ride
- Drive a motor vehicle in a public place
The person then kills another as a result of their actions while intoxicated.
What Is the Punishment for Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas?
An intoxication manslaughter conviction is a second-degree felony. This felony is punishable by:
- Time in state prison ranging from two to 20 years
- A fine of $10,000
- A fine and a prison sentence
Are There Sentence Enhancements for Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas?
Yes. A sentence enhancement is an increased penalty for a person who is a repeat offender, caused harm to a specific victim, or caused a certain kind of harm. This crime becomes a felony in the first degree if the person who was killed is an emergency medical service personnel or firefighter. The person may receive a criminal sentence of:
- State prison time ranging from five to 99 years
- $10,000 fine
- A fine and time in a state prison
Do I Need an Attorney to Help with My Intoxication Manslaughter Charge in Texas?
Like any manslaughter charge, an intoxication manslaughter charge is a serious criminal charge that is difficult to fight. In order to properly defend yourself against an intoxication manslaughter charge, you need the aid of a Texas criminal attorney.