The law for Intoxication Assault in Texas is as follows:
§ 49.07. INTOXICATION ASSAULT
(a) A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake:
1. while operating an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated, or while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another; or
2. as a result of assembling a mobile amusement ride while intoxicated causes serious bodily injury to another.
(b) In this section, "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.
(c) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.
Intoxication Assault Charges
Charges of Intoxication Assault (and Intoxication Manslaughter) usually follow a DWI accident in which someone other than the driver was injured or killed. To gain an Intoxication Assault conviction it must be proven that the Driving While Intoxicated resulted in an accident which caused "serious bodily injury" to another person. If convicted of Intoxication Assault, it is possible to receive probation, but your eligibility may depend on the severity of the injury and whether there are any prior criminal convictions, especially ones pertaining to alcohol.
The accident must also have been caused by "reason of intoxication." The main question to be asked from the reading of this portion of the law, therefore, would be whether the driver's intoxication truly caused the accident. A conviction for Intoxication Assault requires proof that the injuries were a result of the driver's intoxication. If, for example, there were other reasons by which the accident occurred the defendant may have a defensible issue to the Intoxication Assault charge. It should also be noted that in Intoxication Assault cases a blood sample can be obtained without the consent of the defendant.
Deadly Weapon Finding
If you are convicted of Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter and the judge or jury finds that you committed the offense with a deadly weapon, you may not be eligible to receive probation. Offenses where the state alleges the finding of a Deadly Weapon are extremely dangerous charges because they are known as a "3G" offenses. This means it is one of the few offenses that Texas Law statutorily prohibits the judge from granting probation if you are convicted following a jury trial. Under Texas law, a "deadly weapon" finding prevents a person who has been sentenced to prison from accumulating any good time credit toward an early release for parole until they have actually served one-half of their sentence. An Intoxication Assault case enhanced with a deadly weapon finding would be \ classified as 2nd Degree Felony.
A vehicle can found to have been a "deadly weapon" where an alcohol-related accident results in a death, or where a death could have occurred by the manner of driving by the defendant. The Texas Courts have held that intoxicated drivers who are involved in accidents where a death has occurred can be found to have used their vehicles as "deadly weapons." Moreover, the Texas Courts have also held that in an Intoxicated Assault case (where death did not occur), depending upon how the vehicle was driven, a "deadly weapon" finding may also be proper.
Contact the Law Offices of Carl David Ceder, PLLC, if you have been charged with Intoxication Assault. Carl handles cases of Intoxication Assault anywhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and in Central Texas. Please call 214.702.CARL (2275) for a free consultation on what your defenses are in fighting your charge of Intoxication Assault.