The consequences can be serious if you're facing a DWI in Texas. But if someone dies as a result, the penalties can be even more severe. We don't typically anticipate a pedestrian running across a highway in front of us, especially at night, but it does happen. Unfortunately, if you've been drinking, alcohol can slow your reaction time and make it harder to respond quickly to obstacles in your path while driving, including pedestrians. That's what led to tragedy on the Gulf Freeway in February.
On February 20, 2023, a pedestrian died after being struck by a car while trying to cross the Gulf Freeway around midnight. A white Nissan struck the man, flipping him over the hood. A second car then struck the man. Paramedics declared the pedestrian dead at the scene. Police reported that the driver of the white Nissan showed signs of intoxication and took him into custody.
DWI Conviction in Texas
A first DWI in Texas is typically a Class B misdemeanor. A conviction is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $3,000 fine, license suspension, and a mandatory administrative fine of $3,000. However, if someone dies in a crash related to your DWI, you could face more serious charges.
Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter
If someone is seriously injured or dies in a crash related to your DWI, you could face felony charges in addition to charges for the DWI.
1. Intoxication Assault
The police may charge you with intoxication assault if someone suffers a serious bodily injury due to a DWI-related crash. “Serious bodily injury” means “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. Pen. Code § 49.07 (2007). Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by two to ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. However, you could face enhanced charges if the injury is severe enough or involves a first responder.
2. Intoxication Manslaughter
Intoxication manslaughter happens when someone dies due to a DWI, whether it's the death of a passenger, a person in another vehicle, or a pedestrian. See Tex. Pen. Code § 49.08 (2007). It is a second-degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. But you can face enhanced charges if the death involves a first responder.
Hire an Expert in Texas DWI and Criminal Defense
If you're facing DWI charges in the Houston area, especially if your DWI involved death or a serious injury, you need an expert in DWI Defense to protect your rights. You are innocent until proven guilty and deserve the best possible defense. Attorney Doug Murphy is an expert in Texas DWI and Criminal Defense law and is a seasoned litigator who has handled many complex DWI cases. In fact, Doug is one of only two Texas attorneys holding Board Certification in both DWI and Criminal Defense Law.
U.S. News & World Report's Best Lawyers in America also recently named Doug a 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” for Houston DWI Defense. Doug and the skilled team at the Doug Murphy Law Firm have been helping Texans like you through complex DWI charges for decades. Find out how they can help you. Call them at 713-229-8333 or contact them online to schedule your consultation.