DWI intoxication assault is defined by Texas Penal Code § 49.07. This offense occurs if someone is operating a motor vehicle in a public place and causes serious bodily injury to another. This offense does not just apply to operating a car; it can apply to a boat, plane, and even an amusement park ride. This statute also defines serious bodily injury. Bodily injury means any 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.” While this definition is broad, it is not all-encompassing. For example, a playful slap or shove will likely not cause permanent disfigurement, protracted loss, or impairment of a body part. A conviction under this charge is a third-degree felony in Texas.
Austin Intoxication Assault Lawyer | Travis County, TX
In Texas, you’ll face intoxication assault charges if you cause an accident that leads to serious bodily injuries to another person or people and the police feel that you’re intoxicated. The penalties are severe if convicted, but the burden of proof is on the State of Texas. Travis County prosecutors need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving drunk and as a result, caused serious bodily injuries to persons other than yourself.
The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has experience representing Texans who were rightfully and wrongfully accused of causing injuries while intoxicated. If you need help, call Austin DWI Lawyer Jackson F. Gorski at 512-960-4646 today.
The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown, TX.
- Definition of Intoxicated
- Penalties for DWI Intoxication Assault in Texas
- Possible Elevation To Second-Degree Or First-Degree Felony
- Additional Resources
With all the legal terms thrown around when it comes to drunk driving, it can be hard to distinguish what qualifies as “intoxicated” versus “impaired.” While these terms are similar, they technically have different meanings under Texas law. The definition of “intoxicated” is established in Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2). If someone is charged with DWI in Texas, they were likely too drunk to drive. The most precise way to show a defendant is impaired is by testing their blood alcohol concentration level. A BAC of .08 or higher qualifies as intoxicated for purposes of Texas DWI law. However, this is not the only way one can be legally intoxicated under Texas law. One can also be intoxicated by “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol . . . or any other substance into the body.”
DWI intoxication assault is a third-degree felony in Texas. The penalties for a third-degree felony are set forth by Texas Penal Code § 12.34. A third-degree felony is punishable in Texas by 2 to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. There are significant ramifications besides these that come with being convicted of a felony. Finding a job, housing, or employment can become far more difficult for a convicted felon than someone with a clean criminal record. Convicted felons also lose significant civil rights. These include the right to vote, run for public office, and own a firearm.
If an individual is convicted of DWI intoxication assault, they will face penalties besides fines and prison time. Whether or not the court directly imposes these penalties, they can cause significant damage to a defendant’s life. Their driver’s license may be suspended for up to one year. Upon its return, the driver must maintain an ignition interlock device and high-risk auto insurance coverage. The driver will need to attend courses to educate about driving under the influence and reduce recidivism. Like every DWI penalty, this course comes with additional costs and fees. The defendant could be required to complete a significant amount of community service, up to 200 hours. The defendant will also need to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation to ensure that they do not continue to have a problem with alcohol.
Depending on the circumstances, DWI intoxication assault charges may be enhanced to a second-degree felony or first-degree felony rather than a third-degree felony. It is important to note here that first-degree and second-degree felonies are more burdensome than third-degree felonies and, therefore, are more harshly punished. The factors that can enhance DWI intoxication assault charges are known as aggravating factors. DWI intoxication assault is enhanced to a second-degree felony if it is committed against an on-duty firefighter or emergency medical personnel or if the accident leaves the victim in a vegetative state. DWI intoxication assault is enhanced to a first-degree felony if committed against a peace officer or judge.
The penalties are much harsher for DWI intoxication assault if any aggravating factors are met. If the defendant is charged with second-degree felony DWI intoxication assault, the maximum prison sentence is 20 years, and the maximum fine is $10,000. The maximum penalty for a first-degree felony is $10,000, but the minimum prison sentence is five years, and the maximum sentence is 99 years. Such a significant prison sentence likely spans the remainder of one’s life. Anyone facing DWI intoxication assault charges in Texas, whether or not they are elevated, must begin swift work on a robust legal defense or face significant penalties.
There will also be sentencing enhancements if the defendant has prior convictions on their record. The prior convictions do not have to be limited to DWI-related offenses—they can be for almost any type of felony conviction in Texas. Texas Penal Code § 12.42 lays out the sentencing enhancement for repeat felony offenders. They must have previously been convicted of at least the same level of felony for the enhancements to apply. The enhancements are as follows:
- Repeat third-degree felony: punishable as a second-degree felony
- Repeat second-degree felony: punishable as a first-degree felony
Again, a DWI intoxication assault defendant facing an enhancement due to prior convictions could be spending the rest of their life, or at least a good portion of it, in jail. An experienced defense attorney can help determine all possible defense strategies and reduce the negative impact on the defendant. A defense attorney can also help a defendant decide whether they should accept a plea bargain, take their case to trial, and more.
Texas Penal Code § 49.07 – The Texas statute regarding assault while driving intoxicated.
Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2) – The legal definition of the word “intoxicated” as applied in DWI cases.
Texas Penal Code § 12.34 – The penalty guidelines for a third-degree felony conviction in Texas. This statute is relevant if someone is convicted of DWI intoxication assault.
Texas Penal Code § 12.42 – Sentencing enhancements for prior felony convictions in Texas.
Georgetown Intoxication Assault Attorney | Williamson County, TX
If you have been arrested for intoxication assault in Texas, hire the experienced legal counsel of a capable criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski. Jackson F. Gorski is a skilled defense lawyer who can present many defenses to your charges reduced or dismissed all together. Don’t tackle this legal challenge alone. It’s best to have an aggressive courtroom fighter on your side.
Call 512-960-4646 to schedule a free consultation with The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski today. Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown but accepts clients throughout several counties in Texas including Travis County, Williamson County, Bell County, Bastrop County, Burnett County, Hays County, Caldwell County, Blanco County, Lee County, Milam County, Hays County, and Caldwell County.