Being involved in a crash that hurts or kills someone else is always horrible. But when you also face a DWI in connection with the accident, it can be terrifying. A recent crash in Dallas illustrated just how serious the consequences could be when a death, especially a police officer's death, is linked to driving while intoxicated.
On February 13, 2021, a Dallas police officer died early that morning after a crash involving a suspected drunk driver. The DPS officer was working at an earlier crash site at 1:20 am on a freeway north of Dallas. He was standing outside his patrol car when the driver of a Kia Forte traveling at a high rate of speed allegedly hit him. The officer later died at the hospital. The police took the driver of the Kia into custody pending charges.
Typically, a first DWI without any aggravating factors is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. The punishments can be up to 180 days and up to $2,000 in fines. However, if you are suspected of DWI and are involved in an accident where someone is seriously injured, the police may also charge you with intoxication assault, also known as DWI with serious bodily injury. “Serious bodily injury” means an 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.” Tex. Crim. Code § 49.07(1)(b) (2007).
Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony, but the charges increase depending on the nature of the injury and who is involved. The crime becomes a second-degree felony if the injury results in a vegetative state or if the injury is to a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel in the line of duty. Tex. Crim. Code § 49.09(b-1) (2019).
If you are suspected of DWI and are involved in an accident where someone dies, the police may also charge you with intoxication manslaughter. Tex. Crim. Code § 49.08 (2007). Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony. However, if the deceased is a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel in the line of duty, the crime is a first-degree felony. Tex. Crim. Code § 49.09(b-2) (2019).
For intoxication assault and manslaughter charges, you may have a defense if:
- You weren't legally intoxicated,
- There was a problem with the stop, investigation, field sobriety tests, or blood alcohol test, or
- You didn't cause the accident.
You Need an Expert in DWI Defense
Killing or injuring a police officer in a car accident can be horrifying under the best of circumstances. But if you're also facing a DWI, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter, you urgently need a criminal defense attorney who is an expert in complex DWI defense cases.
Attorney Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas attorneys Board Certified in DWI defense and criminal law. Doug is Board Certified in DUI Defense by the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD), accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Moreover, he has a proven track record of successfully defending those facing serious DWI assault and manslaughter charges. He can help you too. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm at 713-229-8333 today to set up a consultation.