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.