Hyatt & Hyatt accepts cases involving Intoxication Assault. Unlike DWIs, Intoxication Assault cases involve injuries to third parties. What typical DWIs lack in having a specific person that the state can point to and say they were injured, Intoxication Assaults do not. Intoxication Assault is a very serious allegation. Even if the victim does not want to press charges, the Prosecution has the option of subpoenaing the injured party, along with their medical records, and proving their case before either the Court or a Jury. This places Defendants at a disadvantage because Intoxication Assaults have a physical victim.
Elements of Intoxication Assault
Intoxication Assault differs from Driving While Intoxicated because a crucial part of the charge is that an injury has occurred. In Intoxication Assault, the Texas legislature has provided Prosecutors with an offense that not only carries a heavy penalty, depending upon the severity of injury and class of victim. §49.07 of the Texas Penal Code addresses Intoxication Assault. The elements of Intoxication Assault are: (1) A person (2) while operating a motor vehicle (3) in a public place, (4) while intoxicated, and (6) by reason of that intoxication, (6) causes serious bodily injury to another.
The specific statute is available here.
Additional Considerations in Intoxication Assault
After analyzing the elements of this offense, a couple of questions come to mind: What’s serious bodily injury and what’s with the “by reason of that intoxication” element? §49.07(b) explains “In this section, ‘serious bodily injury’ means “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.” There are several ways that these injuries can be proven. As the statute is broad, the injuries can vary from serious permanent disfigurement to a substantial risk of death. This language is intentionally broad to encompass any number of injuries, from broken limbs, internal organ damage to paralysis.
While the injury itself is important, a more difficult hurdle the Prosecution must meet is proving the intoxication itself is the proximate cause of the injury. For example, if the roadway was in disrepair or if the median line in the roadway is gone, it would be much harder to prove an accident or injury occurred because of the intoxication of the defendant as opposed to the poor condition of the highway. Critical elements such as this are important. As such, it is important that when considering offenses such as this, a full analysis of both the law and the specifics of the situation are evaluated.
In addition to the specific elements of the charged offense, Intoxication Assault also carries with it various limitations on Community Supervision/Probation and Suspensions of Driving Privileges.
Intoxication Assault Class of Offense
If the elements of the offense are met, Intoxication Assault is a Third Degree Felony. There are additional enhancements that might be sought if the Serious Bodily Injury resulted in a persistent vegetative state of the victim. If the persistent vegetative state is proven at trial, the punishment range is that of a Second Degree Felony. Also, if it is proven at trial that the victim of the Serious Bodily Injury was a peace officer, firefighter or emergency medical services personnel while in the discharge of their official duty, the charge is bumped up to a Second Degree Felony. In sum, if the victim is not in a vegetative state or was not a member of law enforcement/firefighter/EMS discharging their duty, it’s Third Degree Felony. If the victim is in one of the special classes just discussed, the underlying offense is bumped up to a Second Degree Felony.
This analysis of the level of punishment is exclusive of any further analysis caused by habitual offenders.
The attorneys at Hyatt & Hyatt understand the implications and options of Intoxication Assault. We have a team of professionals and have the resources necessary to help mitigate damage. Additionally, we have the knowledge and experience to tell your side of the story.