Intoxication Assault in Texas

Texas Penal Code Section 49.07 states: “A person commits [intoxication assault] if the person by accident or mistake:

  1. While operating [omitting watercraft, aircraft and amusement ride provisions because they are not as common but we can certainly defend them] a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another…

This is a felony of the third degree which brings a potential penalty of 2-10 years in prison. There are other rare circumstances where this could be a higher penalty range, but this is the most common.

The prosecution will almost always add that the motor vehicle is a deadly weapon, which, if a person receives prison time, significantly affects the person’s parole eligibility date.

When defending these cases, it is important to note three things:

  1. The State must prove intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt just as they would have to in any DWI case. Just because they can prove that someone suffered serious bodily injury (which is defined in the statute) does not mean that is all they must prove. Someone can have had a drink or two, not have been intoxicated, cause an accident causing serious bodily injury to another and still not be guilty of this offense;
  2. The person can commit this offense by accident or mistake. So normally, if you commit an offense by accident or it involved an honest and reasonable mistake of fact, you can be found not guilty, that is NOT the case for this offense. In other words, the State need NOT prove that the person’s actions were intentional, knowing, reckless nor criminally negligent—but that leads us to the final point;
  3. The State still must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the intoxicated person CAUSED the serious bodily injury to another by reason of that intoxication. For example, if someone is driving while intoxicated but obeying all traffic laws and proceeds through a green light and someone else runs a red light, T-Bones the DWI driver and in so doing during the crash, the complaining witness suffers serious bodily injury, which was caused by them running the red light, this does not make the accused guilty of Intoxication Assault because the accused did not cause the serious bodily injury by reason of the accused’s intoxication—it was due to the other person running the red light. The accused, however, still could be charged for DWI.

These cases begin to entail quite a bit of expert analysis, including that which you would have in defending against a DWI (breath/blood analysis), but also accident scene reconstruction under certain circumstances.

We have handled serious intoxication cases and guide our clients through their options in defending these cases. We have worked with experts who have analyzed crime scenes. We have received reports of how dangerous particular stretches of roadway are and we have dealt with other scientific evidence such as Airbag Control Modules, often referred to as black boxes, which capture quite a bit of pre-crash data detailing when someone braked before a crash, their speed, etc.

Just because you are charged, all is not lost. That is when the Defense begins.

Call us at (512) 494-4070 or request a free consultation online now relating to this specific charge.