Fort Worth Intoxication Assault Attorney

Charged with Intoxication Assault in Texas? We can help!

If you caused an accident in Fort Worth that seriously injured someone, and you were driving while intoxicated (DWI) at the time, you could face intoxication assault charges. When intoxication results in serious bodily injuries, penalties and charges become much more serious. This is because intoxication assault is a felony in the state of Texas. Penalties can include jail time and substantial fines along with other serious repercussions on your life and future.

That said, an experienced Fort Worth intoxication assault attorney can help you develop the right defense strategy to demonstrate that your actions did not directly cause another person's injuries.

Contact the Fort Worth intoxication assault lawyers at Fulgham Law Firm immediately for a free consultation. We will review your case, advise you of your rights and options, and help you prepare a solid defense against the charges.

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What Is Intoxication Assault in Texas?

Before you can build a successful defense strategy, you’ll have to understand the charges against you. Here’s how Texas law defines intoxication assault:

“A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake 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.”

Some key elements regarding intoxication assault include:

  • Claiming that you were negligent or did not intend to hurt anyone doesn’t count as a solid defense.
  • Intoxication assault doesn’t just happen behind the wheel of a car.
  • Prosecutors will have to prove that your actions resulted in serious bodily injury.

What Is Serious Bodily Injury?

Texas law defines “serious bodily injury” as “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.”

Not all injuries qualify as a serious bodily injury. A small fracture, for example, may only be considered “bodily injury.” You can’t be convicted for intoxication assault if the victim’s injuries did not leave them impaired.

Penalties for Intoxication Assault in Texas

If driving while intoxicated did result in a victim’s serious bodily injuries, you could be convicted. Intoxication assault is a felony of the third degree in Texas. Penalties include 2-10 years behind bars and up to $10,000 in fines.

Furthermore, if the victim dies in a car accident, you may face more serious charges. Intoxication manslaughter is a felony of the second degree in the state of Texas.

What Prosecutors Must Prove to Convict You on Intoxication Assault Charges

Prosecutors will have to prove three things in order to put you behind bars:
  • You were intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle, aircraft, etc.
  • Intoxication was a direct cause of the victim's injuries
  • The victim sustained serious bodily injury
Prosecutors will gather all the evidence that they can to support these claims. You will have to gather more evidence that refutes or contradicts the prosecution's argument.
The more information that you provide to your lawyer, the easier it will be to determine which strategies work in your favor.
Write down as much as you can from the incident. Who was in the car with you? When did the accident occur? What were you doing before the accident? Provide thorough details. The medication that you took or the things you observed about the victim may hold the key to a strong defense strategy.

Common Defense Strategies Against Intoxication Assault Charges

Defense strategies against intoxication assault charges in Texas will depend on the specific details of the case, but there are common approaches that defense attorneys may use to challenge the prosecution's case. Keep in mind that the effectiveness of these strategies can vary based on the unique circumstances of each case. Here are some common defense strategies:
  • Challenge the Stop or Arrest: If law enforcement did not have a valid reason to stop your vehicle or lacked probable cause for the arrest, it may be possible to challenge the legality of the stop or arrest.
  • Question Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are subjective and can be influenced by various factors. Your attorney may challenge the accuracy or reliability of these tests, arguing that they do not necessarily indicate intoxication.
  • Challenge Breath or Blood Test Results: The accuracy of breath or blood tests can be challenged on various grounds. Issues such as improper calibration of testing equipment, mishandling of samples, or medical conditions affecting test results may be explored.
  • Dispute Serious Bodily Injury: The definition of "serious bodily injury" is crucial in Intoxication Assault cases. Your defense may challenge the prosecution's evidence to dispute whether the injuries meet the legal criteria for serious bodily injury.
  • Challenge Causation: Your defense attorney may question whether the injuries were directly caused by the alleged intoxication. If there are other contributing factors to the injuries, it could impact the case.
  • Challenge Statements and Confessions: If there are statements or confessions made by the accused, their admissibility may be challenged based on factors such as Miranda rights violations or coercion.
  • Demonstrate Lack of Intoxication: Your defense attorney may present evidence, such as witness testimony or expert opinions, to challenge the prosecution's assertion that you were intoxicated at the time of the incident.
  • Explore Plea Negotiation: In some cases, negotiating a plea deal may be a strategic option to reduce charges or potential penalties.
It's important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to evaluate the specific circumstances of your case and determine the most effective defense strategy. A Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer at Fulgham Law Firm can help build a strong defense, protect your rights, and navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Be On Your Best Behavior

In the meantime, keep a low profile. Stay out of trouble. Evidence of anything to the contrary may be used against you in court. If there is any question as to whether you drove while intoxicated again, the uphill climb ahead of you will be even steeper.

Take Action Sooner Rather Than Later

Even if you have already been charged with intoxication assault, you may not know the extent of the victim’s injuries. Injuries that start as “bodily injury” could turn into serious bodily injury down the road.

Collect the right documents and reach out to a Texas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. If you wait, documentation may get lost and you will have less time to build a strategy that can get you out of serious penalties.

Charged with Intoxication Assault in Fort Worth or Tarrant County?

While judges and prosecutors take all alcohol-related driving offenses seriously, they are especially aggressive about prosecuting cases where a DWI causes injury to another person in an auto accident. When a driver who is impaired while driving causes a collision that results in serious injury to another, the driver may be charged with Intoxication Assault under Texas Penal Code §49.07.

Because serious injuries can create enormous physical, emotional, and financial hardships for an injury victim and the victim’s family, prosecutors are particularly aggressive and judges often are inclined to impose tough sentences in Texas intoxication assault cases.

Intoxication Manslaughter

Manslaughter is somewhat of an umbrella term in Texas. There are different categorizations of manslaughter, such as vehicular manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter.
A person commits intoxication manslaughter under the following criteria:
  • If a person operates an aircraft, watercraft, amusement ride, a motor vehicle in a public place, or assembles a mobile amusement ride while intoxicated, and as a result of this intoxication, causes the death of another.
  • If a person is intoxicated and as a result, causes the death of another by accident or mistake.
Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony, which can carry double the prison term of a third-degree felony conviction (plus the fine).

The key difference between intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter is whether or not a death was involved.

An Experienced Texas Defense Attorney Can Help

While intoxication by itself is not a valid defense in these types of situations, an attorney who specializes in intoxication and intoxication assault laws can assist in making sense of what charges and defenses may apply to your case.

Sometimes, a defense strategy is less about disputing whether a crime occurred and more about whether a mistake has been made in the initial accusation (or at some point during the procedural process).

Intoxication laws and legislation can be dense and difficult to grasp, but it is important to understand the nuances of intoxication offenses because the penalties they carry can be significantly different.

When you retain one of our Fort Worth intoxication assault lawyers, we work diligently to defend your future, which might include filing motions to suppress evidence, seeking to exclude testimony, and requesting dismissal of the charges.

If your future is clouded by the specter of criminal charges of intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter in Fort Worth, you need a Fort Worth DWI attorney to defend your rights. Call the Fulgham Law Firm P.C. at 817-877-3030 to request a free confidential consultation with a former prosecutor and experienced Fort Worth DWI lawyer.

Call us right now to get help.

(817) 877-3030

We’ve helped hundreds of people in Texas and we can help you too. We’ll set you up with a free conversation with one of our attorneys, which will help you know what to do next. Fulgham Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys serves Fort Worth and Tarrant County areas.

About the Author:

Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth, making sure they receive the strongest possible defense when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.