If you have been investigated for DWI, the situation can worsen if you were involved in an accident and someone was hurt. Even if this is your first arrest, your charge can instantly go from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the severity of the injuries sustained. Now is the time to hire the most effective lawyer for you as your freedom and future are at stake.
With over 25 years of experience in criminal law and in DWI and intoxication assault cases, we know how to effectively defend people who find themselves in this most unfortunate situation. The road ahead may be long and difficult, but we will be with you every step of the way, fighting for and advising you. We will do everything we can to ensure you and your defense are in the best position for the most favorable outcome. Contact us now at 214-741-4000 for the help and protection you need.
What is Intoxication Assault?
Intoxication assault is a crime defined by Texas Penal Code 49.07. According to the penal code, a person commits intoxication assault when they operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated and due to their intoxication, cause serious bodily injury to another person. You do not have to intend to injure the other person, and even if the injury is an accident or a mistake, it can still qualify as intoxication assault.
Under the statute, “serious bodily injury” refers to an injury that creates a substantial risk for death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. A serious, but non-life threatening injury, that will heal over time does not fit the legal definition necessary to be charged with intoxication assault.
Ready to Perfect Your Defense
We have seen thousands of DWI and intoxication assault cases throughout the years, and we know how to investigate them in order to establish the most effective defense. We will explore every avenue to ensure we can present the best defense while attacking the prosecution’s case against you.
We will thoroughly investigate all facets of your case and work on developing the most effective defense for you. This starts by determining:
- Was there serious bodily injury?
- Was the injury due to the intoxication?
- What is normal for you?
- Sobriety testing.
- Chemical testing.
- Police conduct.
- Better safe than sorry, someone was injured.
Was There Serious Bodily Injury (SBI)
Being banged up and bruised in an accident with a long recovery time is different then permanent injuries. At first glance, injuries may appear to be very severe, only to heal as time passes. When injuries occur, all medical records must be thoroughly reviewed to see if the injuries rise to the level of SBI. Do the records indicate how permanent they are or if a person will not make a 100% recovery according to the doctor? Additionally, the injured person has a say in how permanent an injury is or is not.
Was the Injury Due to the Intoxication
Accidents happen all the time where no one had been drinking and people suffer serious bodily injury. The identical accident scenario can occur with one of the drivers being intoxicated. The real issue revolves around how the police go about determining if the injury was a result of the driver’s intoxication. Part of this determination is who was factually at fault for the accident. The police routinely take the leap of faith that the driver who had been drinking only had the accident due to the alcohol consumption. As bad as an accident may be, we always have to investigate how the accident happened to determine who caused the accident and/or if it would have or could have happened regardless of any alcohol consumption.
What is Normal For You
We all respond to stress and pressure differently and being involved in an accident after drinking alcohol is no different. It is normal to feel scared and uncomfortable in this situation, and that alone could adversely affect how you respond to the police or perform on sobriety tests. This is not a normal situation to begin with, and the fear of the unknown can cause hesitation and apprehension. Additionally, what is normal for you might not be what is normal for me. You might handle the stress and pressure of this type of situation better than I would, and we both could be acting normal yet be acting differently.
There are many issues surrounding sobriety testing that can affect how valid their results are, especially after being involved in an accident. Officers routinely testify that based upon their training and experience, the accident played no role in how the person performed on the sobriety tests. Many people who are injured tell the police they are fine for no other reason than that going to the hospital can be extremely expensive. The police are trained that sobriety tests only identify impairment which means after being involved in an accident, you must still perform the tests 100% perfectly in order for them not to be held against you. This means that any difficulty due to the accident or not being naturally coordinated will be taken as a sign of impairment. Any difficulty naturally caused by age, the weather, time of day, road surface, traffic, or just being freaked out will be taken as a sign of impairment.
When it comes to sobriety testing, you need to understand that you are really being tested for your coordination abilities in an extremely stressful situation after an accident where you know someone is seriously injured and your future on the line. It is this type of environment that can make perfection very difficult to obtain.
When a blood test is completed, there will be a printout of your results indicating the amount of alcohol that was in your system. What the printout does not do is tell you whether the blood sample was obtained using medically accepted practices, how the blood was stored and transported, and whether the actual testing of the blood followed all necessary procedures and protocols. The number on the printout is just that, a number. We will investigate the entire process to determine how valid or reliable the results are so you are not adversely affected by an unreliable result.
Better Safe Than Sorry, Someone Was Injured
At times it is just easier to charge someone with Intoxication Assault just because someone had been drinking and was involved in an accident where someone was badly injured. It should not happen that way, but it does. Additionally, if an officer is not sure if the injured person will completely heal, that in all likelihood will file the enhanced charge out of an abundance of caution.
Investigating an intoxication assault case can be very stressful and time consuming. There is so much on the line for our client, and we know they are putting their entire future in our hands. We take that responsibility seriously and will do everything we can for you.
Penalties of DWI and Intoxication Assault
DWI and intoxication assault is a felony. The consequences include:
- A prison sentence of 2-10 years.
- A fine of up to $10,000.
- Community service for up to 1,000 hours.
- A suspension of your driver’s license for as much as 180 days.
- An additional fee of $1,000-$2,000 for three years if you want to keep your license.
- After getting your license back, you need to have an ignition interlock device installed on the vehicle(s) you drive.
- DWI education classes.
If an on-duty firefighter or emergency medical services personnel are injured, the felony penalties are more severe. These penalties include a prison sentence of 2-20 years and a fine of up to $10,000. These penalties may also apply if the bodily injury results in traumatic brain injury and a consistent vegetative state.
If an on-duty judge or peace officer is the victim, the penalties are a prison sentence of 5-99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Collateral consequences include:
- Increased auto insurance.
- A conviction on your criminal record.
- Difficulty obtaining or keeping certain professional licenses.
- Difficulty obtaining or keeping certain jobs.
- Child custody issues.
- Immigration issues.
- Issues furthering your education.
Our #1 Goal is Protecting Your Future
At The Wilder Firm, we know that when facing these serious charges, this is no time to take a chance on just any lawyer. We have the dedication and experience needed to defend and advise you during this trying time. We will meticulously start investigating all the facts, making sure everything is done to most effectively defend you. Contact me immediately at 214-741-4000 so that our experienced team can start fighting for you.