If you have been involved in a car accident after allegedly drinking and driving, you can be charged with an intoxication assault in Texas, which can lead to severe penalties if you are convicted. At trial, the Texas prosecutor is required to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you were intoxicated and caused serious bodily injury to another person. Although this burden is high, the prosecutor does not have to show that you intended to hurt another person. The injury could have been the result of an accident or mistake, but you can still be charged with this serious offense.
DWF Intoxication Assault
Intoxication Assault can occur if an individual who is intoxicated operates a motor vehicle on a public road and causes serious bodily injury to another person as a result of the intoxication, according to Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 49.07. Even if the offense occurred as a result of an accident or a mistake, the individual can still be charged with DWI assault. This offense is punishable by a felony of the third degree. If a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel sustained the injury, the alleged offender could be charged with a felony of the second degree.
Serious Bodily Injury in Texas
Under Texas law, serious bodily injury is defined as injury to a person that causes impairment or loss to any body part or organ for a lengthy period of time or permanently, or any injury that will likely cause death.
Although this type of injury may not immediately be apparent after an intoxication assault accident, the alleged DWI offender could still be charged with this offense if the injuries appear at a later time.
Penalties for DWI Assault in Dallas, Collin and Tarrant Counties
An individual who has been charged and convicted of an intoxication assault can incur a prison from two to ten years and/or a fine up to $10,000. If the offense was a second degree felony because the injury was to a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel, the alleged DWI assault offender could receive a prison sentence from two to 20 years and/or a fine up to $10,000, if convicted.
An individual who is convicted of a first DWI assault could receive a driver’s license suspension from 90 days to one year. If the offender received a second or subsequent DWI assault within five years of the previous offense, their license could be suspended for 90 days to one year plus an additional one year. If the DWI assault offender has previously been convicted of any DWI offense within five years, their license can be suspended for a period of one year to two years.
Additionally, an alleged intoxication assault offender could receive community service up to 1,000 hours, installation of an interlock device, required completion of an approved alcohol or drug education program and/or court costs and fees.
Related Vehicular Assault Offenses in DFW
Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 49.08 – An individual can be charged with intoxication manslaughter if they cause the death of another person after they operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated on a public road. This offense is punishable by a felony of the second degree. If the individual causes the death of a peace officer, firefighter or emergency medical personnel, the alleged offender could be charged with a felony of the first degree.
According to Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 550.021, an individual can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, which is typically a felony of the third degree, 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.
An individual can be charged with vehicular manslaughter under Tex. Penal Code § 19.04 if they recklessly cause the death of another person while operating a vehicle. An individual can also be charged with vehicular manslaughter under Tex. Transp. Code § 545.401 if they recklessly operate a vehicle and cause the death of another person.
Dallas Resources for Intoxicated Assault
Texas Penal Code – Intoxication Assault – This link is to section 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code, which defines intoxication assault in Texas and the potential penalties for a conviction. 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 Public Safety – Alcohol Related Offenses – This link is to information about alcohol related offenses and punishments in Texas, including driver’s license suspensions, administrative driver’s license suspensions, and reinstating a license after an intoxication assault offense.
Texas Department of Transportation – Crash Reports – This link is to the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) website with information on how to access your crash report in Texas, statistics about alcohol related accidents and crashes and miscellaneous information regarding your alleged alcohol-related vehicle accident in Texas. A Dallas office is located at:
TxDOT Dallas District Office
12000 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, Texas 75243
Phone: (972) 479-9747