If you're involved in a traffic accident where someone dies, it can be horrifying. The fear and guilt can be overwhelming. But despite your horror over the accidental loss of life, you still have to worry about possible charges, particularly if the police accuse you of driving while intoxicated. If an intoxicated driver kills someone else in Texas, you can face charges far more serious than a DWI. That's what a Longview, Texas man discovered in 2017.
Police arrested the man for DWI after a crash in Gregg County on October 6, 2017, that killed a passenger in another car. According to police, he was driving north in the 3800 block of South Eastman Road when he entered the southbound lanes and collided with a car driven by Tunyion Lanette Andrews of Woodville. Andrews' mother, 64-year-old Billie Griffin Andrews, was a passenger in the car and died that day in a local hospital.
In February of 2018, a grand jury indicted the man for intoxication manslaughter, and he was out on bail pending his trial. Police arrested him again in April on suspicion of DWI. His trial for the 2017 intoxication manslaughter charge is still pending.
Possible Charges for Death During DWI Crash
In Texas, if someone dies due to an accident you allegedly caused driving while intoxicated, the police can charge you with more than just DWI. The state may charge you with intoxication manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, or criminally negligent manslaughter, as well as DWI.
- Intoxication Manslaughter
Intoxication manslaughter occurs when an intoxicated driver kills another in a crash. This crime doesn't cover any reckless act someone intoxicated makes that kills someone else; rather, it only covers intoxicated drivers who kill another by accident or mistake. Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas, which can result in a prison sentence of two to twenty years and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Vehicular Manslaughter
Vehicular manslaughter occurs when recklessly operating a vehicle results in the death of another. Vehicular manslaughter doesn't typically involve driving while intoxicated, but police could charge you with vehicular manslaughter if you'd been drinking but weren't legally intoxicated. Vehicular manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas that can result in prison for two to twenty years and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Criminally Negligent Homicide
Criminally negligent homicide results from “conduct […that carried] substantial and unjustifiable risk.” Failure to recognize that risk is a type of gross negligence that can hold someone responsible for the death. While this charge isn't specifically related to driving while intoxicated, it is a charge police may use if you were drinking but not legally intoxicated under Texas law. Criminally negligent homicide is a state jail felony that can result in 180 days to two years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
Hire an Experienced & Board Certified Texas DWI Lawyer
If you're facing charges related to the death of someone while you were allegedly intoxicated, you need an attorney who is an expert at defending complex DWI cases. Attorney Doug Murphy is a Board Certified expert in both DWI defense and criminal law and more than 20 years of experience defending complex DWI cases, including those with aggravating circumstances like accidents and death. He can help. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm at 713-229-8333 today to set up a consultation or contact us online.