Intoxication Manslaughter

A man sits crying in front of his badly wrecked car

Driving drunk in Texas is a huge risk; the police are vigilant in their enforcement of intoxicated drivers. A DWI is already a serious charge. If you wreck and kill someone while intoxicated, you could face intoxication manslaughter charges.

If convicted of intoxication manslaughter, you face steep penalties. In addition to prison time and fines, you will lose your driving privileges for a significant length of time. You’ll walk away a convicted felon with a permanent criminal record. You’ll lose the right to vote or hold public office, and you’ll be ineligible to apply for certain jobs or professions. If you want to pursue higher education, getting into college or graduate school will be much more difficult.

The Dallas County prosecutor has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt every element of intoxication manslaughter. While it’s often difficult to meet this burden of proof, the prosecutor does not have to prove that you intended to kill someone. It is not a defense to DWI manslaughter charges that the death resulted from your accident or mistake.

If you have been charged with intoxication manslaughter in Dallas or the surrounding areas, it is crucial that you contact an experienced attorney.

Warning: If you have refused a chemical test or failed a blood or breath DWI test, you only have 15 days to request an administrative license suspension hearing to get your license back.

Dallas Intoxication Manslaughter Lawyer

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy if you have been charged with intoxication manslaughter in DFW, including Decatur, Garland, Grand Prairie, Irving, Mesquite, Carrollton, and Richardson. Attorney Richard McConathy will listen to your story, review the evidence, and fight for the best possible outcome.

Call Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy for a free consultation at (972) 233-5700 or send an online message about your alleged DUI manslaughter offense. We can be a strong asset at your side, every step of the way.


Dallas DWI Manslaughter Information Center


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Intoxication Manslaughter Defined in Dallas

Intoxication manslaughter is defined by Texas Penal Code Section 49.08. A person commits intoxication manslaughter when they cause the death of another person while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

This offense is charged as a felony of the second degree. If a drunk driver kills a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel, they could be charged with a first-degree felony.


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Is Intoxication Manslaughter Murder?

Intoxication manslaughter and murder are related, but they are not the same. The common thread between these two acts is they both result in homicide. But to distinguish between the two, you have to look at the intent of the accused.

Committing intoxication manslaughter results in the accidental death of another person. It is a crime of negligence; a person who commits intoxication manslaughter does so without the intent to kill. Recklessness, not malice, is the contributing factor in many intoxication manslaughter deaths.

Murder, on the other hand, is an intentional crime. Murderers often know their victims and have a motive to kill them. In many cases, murderers who commit homicide have a personal grudge and commit murder as an act of vengeance.

So while intoxication manslaughter and murder both result in the loss of human life, they are separate crimes.


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Vehicular Manslaughter – Texas Penal Code Section 19.04 – A person can be charged with manslaughter in Texas if they recklessly cause the death of another person. If the individual recklessly operates a vehicle under Texas Transportation Code Section 545.401 and causes the death of another person, they can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. This offense is generally charged as a felony of the second degree.

Intoxication Assault – Texas Penal Code Section 49.07 – An individual can be charged with intoxication assault if they cause serious bodily injury to another person while driving intoxicated. This offense is charged as a felony of the third degree, but can be increased to a felony of the second degree.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Texas Transportation Code Section 550.021 – An individual can be charged with this offense if they do not do the following after an accident involving death or injury:

  • Immediately stop their vehicle at the accident scene or as close to the scene as possible;
  • Immediately stop without blocking more traffic than necessary;
  • Immediately return to the accident scene if they do not initially stop at the scene of the accident; and
  • Remain at the scene of the accident until certain statutory requirements have been met.

Leaving the scene of an accident is typically charged as a third-degree felony.

Criminally Negligent Homicide – Texas Penal Code Section 19.05 – An individual can be charged with criminally negligent homicide if they operate a vehicle with criminal negligence and cause the death of another person. This offense is charged as a Texas jail felony.


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Penalties for Texas DWI Manslaughter

A conviction for intoxication manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. The prison time increases drastically if the victim was a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel. In this case, a conviction could result in imprisonment for 5 to 99 years and a maximum fine of $10,000. Alternatively, the judge may deliver a life sentence.

An individual who is convicted of a first intoxication manslaughter could have their driver’s license suspended from 180 days to 2 years. If the offender receives a second or subsequent intoxication manslaughter within ten years of the previous offense, their license could be suspended for 1 to 2 years.

Additionally, an alleged intoxication manslaughter offender could have an interlock device installed in their vehicle. They could also be required to complete up to 1,000 hours of community service, pay court costs and fees, and complete an approved alcohol or drug education program.


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Dallas Resources for DWI Manslaughter

Texas Penal Code – Intoxication Manslaughter – Intoxication manslaughter is defined by Section 49.08 of the Texas Penal Code. The Texas Penal Code contains all of the criminal laws in Texas; Chapter 49 pertains to all of the state’s intoxication laws.

Texas Department of Transportation – Crash Reports – The Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) website provides access to crash reports for individuals who have been involved in a car accident. Here you can also find information regarding alcohol-involved accidents, including intoxication manslaughter. A Dallas office is located at:

TxDOT Dallas District Office
P.O. Box 3067
Dallas, Texas 75221
Phone: (214) 320-6240

Mothers Against Drunk Driving – This nonprofit organization aims to stop accidents resulting from drinking driving. They also work to prevent drunk driving and stop individuals from driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. The national organization provides support to individuals and families affected by an alcohol-related accident.


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Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Fort Worth Intoxication Manslaughter Attorney

Dallas DWI attorney Brian Bolton sits at his deskThe experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy have defended thousands of clients since 2002. Richard McConathy is a knowledgeable DUI lawyer in Dallas who will fight to achieve the best possible outcome for your particular situation. Whenever possible, he will move to suppress evidence and reduce or dismiss your charges.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a free consultation about your intoxication manslaughter charges. We represent clients in Dallas County and the surrounding counties of Kaufman, Rockwall, Johnson, Ellis, Denton, Collin, and Tarrant.


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This article was last updated on Tuesday, January 29, 2019.

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