According to the Texas Department of Transportation, someone is injured or killed in an alcohol-related crash about every 20 minutes in Texas. That being said, Texas comes down hard on intoxicated drivers.
Under Texas law, a driver is legally “intoxicated” and may be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) if his or her blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or above. However, anyone can be arrested for DWI so long as they are impaired by drugs or alcohol regardless of how high their BAC is.
Generally, a simple DWI is a Class B misdemeanor under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code, but the DWI can be elevated to a felony when aggravating circumstances are present, for instance, when the drunk or drugged driver seriously injures another person while driving under the influence.
In Texas, if you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a combination thereof, and you cause serious bodily injury to another person, you will likely be charged with “intoxication assault,” which is covered under Sect. 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code.
Intoxication Assault (Serious Bodily Injuries)
Under Sec. 49.07, a driver commits the offense of intoxication assault when he or she causes serious bodily injury to another person while:
- Driving a motor vehicle
- Operating an aircraft
- Operating a watercraft
- Operating an amusement ride
What does “serious bodily injury” mean exactly? Sec. 49.07 defines it as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or one that causes the victim to suffer serious permanent disfigurement, a protracted loss of a bodily function, or a protracted impairment of a bodily function or bodily organ.
As you can imagine, many types of injuries fall under the state’s definition of a serious bodily injury. For example, a traumatic brain injury or having several broken bones from an auto accident would likely qualify as a serious injury under the state’s definition.
Penalties for a Third Degree Felony in Texas
Intoxication assault is a felony of the third degree, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison, and a possible fine not to exceed $10,000 under Sec. 12.34.
If you are facing charges for intoxication assault, we urge you to contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Plano criminal defense attorneys!