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A Fatal DWI

Posted by Doug Murphy | Jan 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

In October 2020, a woman was driving her motorcycle westbound on FM 1090 when, as she was about to make a left turn, she was allegedly hit by a Cadillac SUV. The woman was taken to a hospital, where she later died. At the scene of the accident, law enforcement then arrested the driver, who was under investigation for “driving while intoxicated” (DWI).

While all DWIs should be taken seriously, a DWI involving a fatality is on a different level than other DWIs. It is a tragedy for everyone concerned.

While the memory of the accident will never fade from view, the trauma often causes people to forget that a DWI charge is not a conviction. Just as with every other criminal charge, you have the right to defend yourself, and the prosecution must prove that you were responsible, beyond a reasonable doubt.

To do so, it's important to have a DWI Specialist at your side.

In a DWI-related fatality, a driver is likely going to be charged with intoxicated manslaughter. That means that the state must prove that a driver was intoxicated at the time of the death, but the state does not need to establish that there was any intent to harm; the charge can include fatalities that arose out of an accident or mistake.

Note that in the case of the motorcycle accident, the driver was arrested, but that an investigation specifically relating to the DWI charge was ongoing.

It is imperative in a DWI case that there is no rush to judgment. To develop a DWI defense, expert counsel will examine the scene of the accident, the police's handling of the arrest, and any administration of field sobriety tests and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests. These are not trivial issues. The state must prove causation—meaning that the driver is responsible for the accident. But if there was an intervening factor (for example, if a stoplight was malfunctioning), then the state could not prove guilt.

The police arrest procedure, the testing, and review and maintenance of evidence (e.g., the blood sample)—these all relate to a defendant's constitutional rights, and a defendant's rights must be maintained. Not just for the well-being of the specific defendant, but because they preserve the fairness of the entire justice system.

At every step of the way, your attorney must grasp the gravity of the case, the mastery of facts and law, and the impact of the result.

Bringing 20 years of experience in the courtroom in DWI defense, Doug Murphy is, year-after-year, heralded as one of the Best Lawyers in America by US News  by US News & World Report as a Texas Super Lawyer. He currently serves as the Dean of the National College for DUI Defense conducted at Harvard Law School. Murphy is one of only two attorneys in the state of Texas who is Board Certified in both Criminal Law and DWI Defense.

Contact Doug Murphy’s office today to discuss your case and begin working on your defense.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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