DWI

Killeen Defense Lawyers for Texas Intoxication Assault Charges

Aggressive DUI defense in Harker Heights, Waco, Copperas Cove, and throughout Central Texas

Just like the rest of the country, Texas lays down harsh penalties for DUI and DWI convictions. These penalties become even more serious when someone causes serious bodily injury or the risk of death while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This includes driving a motor vehicle, boat, aircraft, or operating an amusement park ride.

If you cause a death while driving drunk, you can be charged with intoxication manslaughter. If you cause serious bodily injury, you can be charged with intoxication assault.

At Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm, our Killeen DWI defense lawyers have the experience and resources to fight the serious charge of Intoxication assault. We work to show that the prosecution failed to show you were intoxicated or that the serious bodily injury was due to the intoxication. We also work to show that that even if someone was injured, the injury does not meet the definition of “serious.”

What is “intoxication assault” in Texas?

The charge of intoxication assault is set forth in Section 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code. The offense, as it applies to drivers of cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles, requires that the vehicle be driven in a “public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another.”

A serious bodily injury is defined as “injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”

What are the penalties for intoxication assault in Texas?

In Killeen and across the state, intoxication assault is a third-degree felony. If the driver has a prior record or other factors, the severity of the charge and penalties can increase.

Anyone convicted of a third-degree felony can be sentenced to prison for two to 10 years and fined up to $10,000. Drivers convicted of intoxication assault may also have their license suspended. A felony conviction can make it hard to find employment or a place to live, also called collateral consequences.

Intoxication assault can become a second-degree felony if the:

  • Victim suffered “serious bodily injury in the nature of a traumatic brain injury that results in a persistent vegetative state.”
  • Victim was “a peace officer or judge while the officer or judge was in the actual discharge of an official duty.”
  • Victim was a “firefighter or emergency medical services personnel while in the actual discharge of an official duty.”

Depending on your situation, our legal team can devise a number of strategies for your defense.

How can a Killeen intoxication assault defense attorney help?

Our experienced defense attorneys aggressively work to argue every legal and factual argument in a defendant’s favor. These arguments include:

  • The motor vehicle was operated on private property. If the accident occurred in a private place such as a driveway, then the defendant has an argument that the intoxication assault statute does not apply.
  • The driver was not intoxicated. The definition of intoxication according to the Texas penal code is:
    • Not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body, or
    • Having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more

The police can’t just say you were intoxicated because your breath smells “funny.” They need to verify that you meet the definition of intoxication. Police officers normally give drivers they suspect are driving while intoxicated field sobriety tests and breath tests. If someone was also injured in the accident, the police may need to seek a warrant to authorize a blood or urine test.

Our skilled DWI defense attorneys challenge the right to give any tests, contest the validity of the tests, assert the requirement that the tests be administered properly and by certified police officers, and assert any other sobriety and chemical test defenses that may apply.

  • You weren’t the driver. Normally, when a police officer is called to the scene of an accident, the officer did not see you drive the vehicle. By the time officers get to the accident site, the occupants of the vehicle, other than those who were injured, are not in the car. The officer can’t assume you were the driver. They have to verity that fact through driver documentation and witnesses.
  • The injury doesn’t qualify as serious. Generally, the prosecution needs medical evidence to support an assertion that the person injured suffered a “serious bodily injury.”
    • If the prosecution doesn’t have testimony or a report from a medical professional, then they may not be able to prove the injury was serious
    • If the injured victim didn’t go to the hospital immediately after the accident, the injury probably wasn’t serious
    • Many injuries such as broken bones heal fully, which indicates they aren’t permanent or don’t involve a protracted loss of function of a bodily member/organ

Some injuries may be due to pre-existing conditions

Talk with a respected Killeen DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible

It is important to speak with an experienced DWI/DUI defense attorney as quickly as you can if you have been charged with intoxication assault. We work to contest any evidence of intoxication. We fight to show that a victim’s medical condition does not meet the definition of a serious bodily injury. Our lawyers fight aggressively to show that your charge should be reduced to a standard DWI or should be dismissed altogether. To speak with a seasoned Killeen criminal defense lawyer, call the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm at 254-680-4655 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Killeen, Harker Heights, Waco, and Copperas Cove.