Most of us drink socially. Many of us fail to plan ahead for how we are getting home in the event we have consumed too much alcohol. Intoxication offenses are odd cases to be handled by the criminal justice system for this reason: There is no requirement of criminal intent.
For almost all cases except for these in the criminal justice system, there is some sort of bad intent or reckless requirement: I wanted to hurt someone or I wanted to steal something, or I shot a gun on a crowded street…but not here.
These really come down to: I drank to the point that I lost the normal use of my mental or physical faculties (to track the way the law is written) but I drove anyway. The tragic thing about this is that the decision to drive is often made after the normal mental faculties are lost which then may place you in the criminal justice system for the first time ever.
Intoxication charges can encompass:
- 1st and 2nd time DWIs
- DWI with a child passenger (felony)
- DWI 3rd or more (felony)
- BWI (boating while intoxicated)
- Intoxication Assault (Felony)
- Intoxication Manslaughter (Felony).
As with White Collar Cases, these cases often bring people into the criminal justice system for their first time ever. The person is often in jail for their first time, they are tired, and just want out. These cases have become extremely political, and prosecutors in some jurisdictions draw arbitrary lines in the sand as to what first time offenses they are willing to reduce and which ones they will not based on criteria such as: was there a collision, the alcohol level of the person’s blood or breath, and whether or not the person refused to provide a blood or breath sample.
DWI or BWI 1st or DWI with a child passenger
These are the charges which often will garb people into the system for the first time. You have been arrested, you were in jail for about 12 hours, you are scared, you are embarrassed and you are worried about your job, your family and your finances. We are here to help.
DWI 2nd and DWI 3rd or More
After the first DWI, prosecutors look at individuals charged again with these offenses much more harshly. The prosecutor’s overall demeanor changes from one that was somewhat forgiving (of the first offense) to one that can be quite inflexible. A DWI 2nd is a Class A misdemeanor which carries up to 1 year in the Travis County jail. A DWI 3rd or more is a 3rd Degree Felony with a range of punishment of 2-10 years in prison and the possibility of probation (but please note that even with probation there is a 10 day jail time minimum).
These are challenging crimes to defend mostly because of the amount of emotions involved. Oftentimes those involved with these offenses are once again meeting the criminal justice system for the first time. The difference between a first time DWI and an Intoxication Manslaughter charge is unfortunately due to bad luck…someone being in the roadway at the precise time an individual is driving drunk or impaired. A family has instantly lost a loved one on one side of the equation. On the other side, someone who was living a relatively normal life is now facing 2-10 years or 2-20 years in prison depending upon the charge and is living with the fact that the client killed someone, which will often haunt the client for life. What people many times do not realize is that for our clients in these situations, the mere facts the client killed someone is more than enough punishment to make the client never be in that situation again.
Contact our criminal defense team today by calling (512) 647-2598 or requesting a free consultation online now.