When the Holidays Bring the Worst: A Fatality-Related DWI Charge

Posted by Doug Murphy | Jan 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

The unfortunate report sounds all too familiar: Houston police arresting an allegedly intoxicated woman involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident early Christmas morning. Officers told the media that prosecutors promptly charged the unfortunate 43-year-old suspect with intoxication manslaughter, which is what Texas calls a fatal-accident DWI. The story was unable to identify the male victim.

DWI Hazards for the Holidays

One might think that Christmas wouldn't be a holiday on which to heavily imbibe. Christmas, of all holidays, should be a time for good cheer. But for many, that's not necessarily the case. The holidays, whether Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, or other holidays, are an especially hazardous time relating to intoxicated driving.

Special holiday DWI-enforcement measures prove the holiday-DWI case. Police departments across Texas and the nation focus extra patrols, checkpoints, and other specially funded initiatives around the Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer holidays, everything from Spring Break right on through Memorial Day, Independence Day, and into Labor Day and beyond.

Defending Fatal-Holiday-DWI Charges

Holiday drinking and driving causing death can justify intoxication-manslaughter charges. Texas Penal Code 49.08 criminalizes intoxication manslaughter driving a vehicle, while Texas Penal Code 19.04 defines manslaughter as recklessly causing death. Texas Penal Code 6.03(c) further defines recklessness as being “aware of but consciously disregard[ing] a substantial and unjustifiable risk” and “a gross deviation” from ordinary care. Drunk driving can qualify as such recklessness.

Unfortunately, those charged with DWI crimes sometimes complicate the defense with careless or irresponsible actions before and after the arrest. Video or audio recording implicating oneself in a potential DWI crime, as in the above event, can surely make for a more-difficult defense. Read here what to do before a DWI arrest and here what to do and not to do after a DWI arrest.

Yet, the fact that a fatal accident occurs around the holidays may, too, suggest the possibility of several defenses or otherwise mitigating circumstances. Texas manslaughter defenses discussed here include heat of passion, mental impairment, and self-defense. DWI Specialist Doug Murphy has the expertise to develop manslaughter-defense strategies based not only on those legal grounds but also on constitutional grounds or challenges to breath or blood tests, field sobriety tests, and other forensic and causation evidence.

A holiday fatality is a horrible event that is a giant human tragedy for all involved. Fatal accidents, unfortunately, occur without crime and even without ordinary negligence. Police and prosecutors make mistakes identifying vehicle operators, administering or interpreting chemical tests, violating constitutional rights, and in other respects. Read more here about how Board Certified DWI Specialist Doug Murphy can successfully defend a DWI charge.

Retain Expert Representation

Nationally recognized Texas DWI attorney Doug Murphy has helped innumerable clients defend false, exaggerated, and otherwise-unjust DWI charges, including in fatal-accident cases. A fatal accident is a staggering event, one that would cause any thoughtful person to seek the help of skilled professionals who have substantial experience with such serious matters. By skillfully showing that defendants charged with DWI crimes have substantial and enforceable legal rights, 2021 Houston DWI Lawyer of the Year Doug Murphy eases the substantial burden that clients carry when involved in a fatal DWI accident.

Board Certified DWI Specialist Doug Murphy is available now for your representation. Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers holding both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification, meaning that he has the knowledge and skills to aggressively defend clients whose DWI charge relates to a fatal accident. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 to discuss your case today. Trust Texas DWI attorney Doug Murphy with your defense in the most serious of cases.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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