Last month an 11-year-old boy suffered fatal injuries in a car accident in Edinburg, Texas. According to reports, the boy was riding in a vehicle driven by his father at the time of the accident. Unfortunately, he was not wearing a seatbelt and properly restrained in the vehicle. This likely contributed to the severity of his injuries. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died.
Jose Alonzo Quintanilla, the boy's father, was also hospitalized after the accident. He appeared to be intoxicated when he was questioned by police but refused to consent to a breath test or blood test. Despite his refusal, he was arrested on suspicion of DWI. He is currently facing criminal charges for intoxication manslaughter in connection with the death of his son.
What is Intoxication Manslaughter?
Driving while impaired can at times put a driver and others at risk of harm. This includes passengers in the impaired driver's own vehicle. In an effort to discourage drinking and driving, the state of Texas has passed many strict DWI laws. Under these laws, the consequences of DWI are much more severe when a driver is involved in an accident.
When an accident causes another person's death, the intoxicated driver can be charged with the crime of intoxication manslaughter. Manslaughter is defined by Texas Penal Code § 19.04 to mean “recklessly causing the death of an individual.” Recklessness means consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk of your actions. When you drive while impaired in Texas you are making a conscious decision to engage in behavior that can have devastating consequences.
What Happens When You're Convicted of Intoxication Manslaughter?
Intoxication manslaughter is a Class 2 Felony. Penalties for this crime can include:
- Between 2 and 20 years in prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Probation, and
- License suspension.
Once you've completed your criminal sentence for intoxication manslaughter you'll still have to live with the fact that you have a felony on your criminal record. This can prevent you from buying or owning a gun and significantly limit the job opportunities available to you. You may also find that landlords or sellers are hesitant to approve your application for a new home, perhaps nervous that a convicted felon would be in the neighborhood.
Defending Intoxication Manslaughter Charges in Texas
You have the right to defend yourself whenever you are accused of a crime in Texas. The best defense will be led by a Texas DWI attorney with years of experience handling felony DWI cases.
Doug Murphy, a Houston DWI lawyer, is Board Certified in both DWI defense and criminal law. As your attorney, he will thoroughly analyze your case and determine the best strategy for your defense. This may include attacking the validity or reliability of the state's evidence and/or offering alternative explanations for your behavior. He knows how the state will approach its case and will be prepared to fight them every step of the way. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.