Charged with Intoxication Manslaughter Houston Criminal Lawyers by alicejenny


									                                                       Any DWI arrest carries the potential for significant
                                                       penalties and requires the attention of a highly
                                                       experienced lawyer. But when that DWI arrest involves
                                                       serious injury or a fatality, there is simply no room for
                                                       error. The question is no longer as simple as getting
                                                       your license back or avoiding some time in the county

                                                       Accidents do happen and tragically, someone can die.
                                                       Mitigating factors are thoroughly checked out such as
                                                       whether the person broke any traffic laws, was driving
                                                       with a suspended license, or if the person was
                                                       negligent in some way. These are usually tried as
                                                       misdemeanors. However, if a person is found to be
                                                       intoxicated or under the influence of something, it is
                                                       treated in Texas as a second degree felony and the
                                                       prosecution goes after the person diligently. In
                                                       intoxication manslaughter cases, the prosecution only
                                                       has to prove that the driver was indeed, intoxicated.
                                                       The term of incarceration could be anything from two
                                                       years to twenty years.

                                                        If you have been charged with DWI after being in an
                                                        accident that involved a death, you may be facing very
                                                        serious charges of intoxication manslaughter. It is
imperative that you speak with Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson as soon as possible after you
have been charged, or think you may be charged. Attorney Johnson has the experience you can rely on for
aggressive and effective defense strategies against the charges. The skilled attorneys at the Charles
Johnson Law Firm do not believe there is any such thing as being slam-dunk guilty. No one truly
intends to commit intoxication manslaughter. They do not wake up and say “I’m going to get drunk tonight
and drive and see who gets in my way.” No matter what the circumstances of the accident are, your personal
story is behind the charges and will make a difference in the outcome of your case. We will make sure that
the judge and jury know that this isn’t just about an intoxication manslaughter case. It is about you and your

Intoxication manslaughter is a Second Degree felony which holds people liable for any death which occurs
because of criminal negligence, or a violation of traffic safety laws. A common use of the vehicular
manslaughter laws involves prosecution for a death caused by driving under the influence (determined by
excessive blood alcohol content levels set by individual U.S. states), although an independent infraction (such
as driving with a suspended driver’s license), or negligence, is usually also required.

Intoxication manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and other similar offenses require a lesser mens rea
(Latin for “guilty mind”. In criminal law, it is viewed as one of the necessary elements of a crime) than other
manslaughter offenses. Furthermore, the fact that the defendant is entitled to use the alcohol, controlled
substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance, is no defense. For example, in Texas, to prove
intoxication manslaughter, it is not necessary to prove the person was negligent in causing the death of
another, nor that they unlawfully used the substance that intoxicated them, but only that they were
intoxicated, and operated a motor vehicle, and someone died as a result.

Types of Intoxication Manslaughter
In Texas, intoxication manslaughter does not only apply to automobile drivers. Individuals may be charged
with this crime under any of the following circumstances:

        •If they are operating a car, truck, motorcycle, or any other type of motorized vehicle in a public place
        •If they are operating a boat, airplane, or amusement park ride
        •If they assemble an amusement park ride

If the alleged offender has done any of these things while intoxicated, and someone was killed by the vehicle
they were operating or had assembled, they can be convicted of intoxication manslaughter. There is no
requirement that the prosecutor prove negligence, that their intoxication was the direct cause of the crash,
or that they were behaving unlawfully by using the substance that caused their intoxication.

Defenses For Intoxication Manslaughter
Intoxication manslaughter cases should be attacked on two fronts if the case is going to trial.
Notwithstanding whether a person is or is not intoxicated, a good lawyer would examine the Texas Peace
Officer collision report which was completed as part of the investigation. Just because a driver may be
intoxicated does not mean that he should be held criminally liable for the death of another.

There have been cases where the deceased driver was as much at fault if not more at fault than the accused.
Examples could include the deceased having run a red light, the deceased having operated his motor vehicle
at night without lights, the deceased also being intoxicated, the deceased merging improperly into traffic,
and the list goes on. A lawyer familiar with crash reconstruction and who has worked with reconstruction
experts should be able to present this defense if it is available. The issue is one of causation and is set forth
in Tex. Penal Code Section 6.04. In a nutshell, what 6.04 states is that if an accused’s conduct is insufficient
in itself to cause the result, and the conduct of another contributed to the result and the contributing cause
was sufficient to cause the result, the accused cannot be held liable.

A good accident reconstruction expert’s report may convince a prosecutor to agree to probation if causation
is questionable. That in itself may be worth the investment in hiring both a reconstruction expert and a
lawyer who knows how to present such findings.

The second line of defense is whether a person is intoxicated. Scientific evidence can be compelling for a
jury. However, the State is allowed to rely upon opinion evidence based upon observations such as lack of
coordination, blood shot eyes, smell of intoxicants on breath, slurred speech etc. Some of these symptom
could be explained by lack of sleep, allergies, injury, but not all.

Most police departments have on board video cameras and video may very well have been used in this case.
Video can be a two-edge sword. Many a video has convinced a defendant to make the best deal possible,
while other videos have convinced an accused to take it to trial

In blood draws/test results, there are several considerations. A blood sample can be lost, yet there can be a
medical record from a laboratory stating what the test result is. In fact, most hospitals don’t retain the blood
samples, but for a very short period. If the blood draw was for medical treatment, sometimes there is a chain
of custody problem that makes admission of the medical records unreliable. Most courts, when dealing with a
chain of custody issue on medical records as the result of medical treatment rule that any problems goes to
the weight of the evidence, not the admissibility, that is, the records gets admitted but the defense lawyer
gets to argue that it is not reliable because of the poor chain of custody.

Mandatory blood draws can be attacked, however, you should hire a lawyer familiar with the statutory and
administrative requirements for blood draws.

Houston Intoxication Manslaughter Defense Lawyer:                                The Charles Johnson
Law Firm
When you are charged with intoxication manslaughter or intoxication assault, you have more than just the
prosecutor against you. You have the victim’s family and the public screaming for your head. You don’t have

to go through this alone. The Charles Johnson Law Firm will fight aggressively to protect your rights and your

After a car accident in which there has been a fatality, it is an extremely upsetting situation for everyone
involved. Law enforcement will collect evidence at the scene and this evidence is an important part of the
documentation of the case. It is crucial that if you have been charged with intoxication manslaughter that
you contact The Charles Johnson Law Firm quickly. The evidence in the case can be reviewed and an attorney
can advise you what can be done in your case. Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson can offer a free
evaluation of your case, and it is advised that you take advantage of this so it can be determined what can
be done and what options may be possible in your case.

Original article may be found at:
Charged with Intoxication Manslaughter? Choose Your Houston Criminal Lawyer Wisely

Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call us at 713-222-7577 or toll free at 877-308-0100.
Major Credit Cards Accepted.

Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson
Solving Problems...Every Day®

815 Walker Street #1047
Houston, TX 77002

Phone: (713) 222-7577
Toll-Free: (877) 308-0100

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