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The Serious Charge of Intoxication Manslaughter
When a Texas drunk driver causes a fatal accident, he or she could face charges of intoxication manslaughter.

In early April 2012, a 22-year-old Texas woman was involved in 3-vehicle accident that left another driver dead. According to a witness, the woman ran two red lights at a high rate of speed right beforehand, and that action led to the accident.

After admitting to the officers responding to the accident that she had consumed alcoholic beverages earlier in the night and failing a field sobriety test, the woman was charged with intoxication manslaughter.

Intoxication Manslaughter

In Texas, if, at the time of a fatal car accident, a driver is alleged to be drunk, the driver could face the charge of intoxication manslaughter, along with charges of driving while intoxicated. To be charged with this intoxication manslaughter, a driver:

  • Is intoxicated while driving his or her vehicle; and
  • Because of the intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.

It should be noted that it isn’t just drivers that can face charges of intoxication manslaughter. Operators of airplanes, boats and amusement park rides — including those who assemble or perform maintenance upon amusement rides — can also be charged with this offense.


In Texas, intoxication manslaughter is charged as a second-degree felony. As such, a person faces:

  • A prison term of at least two but no more than 20 years; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000.

Speak With an Attorney

The penalties associated with intoxication manslaughter are severe and life changing. While every case is different and will depend upon the facts of the situation, there may be mitigating circumstances that could lessen or eliminate the penalties faced, including how a driver’s intoxication level was determined.

Do not face these charges alone; speak with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

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