While details of the incident are still sketchy, reports indicate that a suspected drunk driver hit a police patrol car near Pinehurst, just north of Houston. If the deputy is found to have sustained a serious bodily injury, then the fact that he was in the line of duty could drastically elevate the penalties of a conviction from a regular offense to a felony crime on par with murder.
Police Deputy Hit by Suspected Drunk Driver
The incident happened in Montgomery County during the night of March 9 and early morning of March 10, 2019. According to the initial reports, a police deputy from Montgomery County Precinct 5 was on traffic duty, closing lanes of State Highway 249 near the town of Pinehurst so construction crews could work on the road.
While closing the lanes, a pickup truck slammed into deputy's patrol car – which had its emergency lights on at the time – propelling the car almost 100 feet. The pickup truck driver kept driving through the construction zone until he went off the road and into a ditch.
Police found the driver of the pickup truck to be impaired and made an arrest. Neither the driver of the pickup truck nor the passenger in the vehicle appeared injured in the crash.
It is unclear whether the deputy was in his patrol car at the time.
While initial reports suggest that he only suffered minor injuries in the crash, the incident highlights how the Texas laws against driving while intoxicated (DWI) can quickly get out of hand in an attempt to protect police.
The Penalties of Intoxication Assault Involving a Police Officer
DWI is already a crime that carries penalties that are shockingly high for the severity of the offense. However, when someone suffers a “serious bodily injury” in a crash that was caused by a driver's intoxication, the DWI also spawns the separate felony DWI offense of intoxication assault.
The penalties for intoxication assault are severe. However, they become truly draconian when the person who suffered a “serious bodily injury” is a police officer in the line of duty. Under Texas Penal Code § 49.09(b-1)(2), should the person who happens to get seriously hurt in a crash caused by a drunk or drugged driver be a cop, the charge for intoxication assault rises to a first-degree felony. First degree felonies are the worst crimes that you can commit in the state of Texas, aside from capital felonies, which carry the death penalty. A conviction for a first-degree felony comes with up to $10,000 in fines and between five and 99 years in jail.
Other examples of first degree felonies in Texas include:
- Child sex trafficking
- Aggravated kidnapping
Compared with these other offenses, intoxication assault against a police officer pales in comparison.
Houston DWI Defense Lawyer Doug Murphy
The excessive penalties for intoxication assault against a cop only highlight the law's overprotection of police officers. When the stakes are so high, the legal representation of DWI defense lawyer Doug Murphy becomes even more important. Contact him online or call his law office at (713) 229-8333 if you have been arrested and charged with DWI in the Houston area.