Intoxication manslaughter is the legal term used in Texas to describe a death caused by a drunk driver. Most of the time, we tend to associate drunk driving with motor vehicles, such as cars or trucks. But a DWI accident can involve the operation of many other types of vehicles, including boats and amusement rides.
For example, law enforcement in Montgomery County, Texas, recently arrested a man on charges of intoxication manslaughter arising from an alleged act of “boating while intoxicated.”
According to a report from ABC 13 in Houston, the deadly accident occurred this past July, when a boat “slammed into a bulkhead and landed on” the Walden Golf Course. Witnesses told police the boat was traveling at approximately 47 miles per hour at the time of the crash.
The accident killed one of the boat’s passengers, a 56-year-old man, and injured three others, including the defendant. Montgomery County law enforcement subsequently identified the defendant as the driver of the boat. Investigators reportedly recovered “a trash bag with 25 empty beer cans and an almost empty bottle of whiskey,” according to court records, and a chemical test taken while the defendant was at the hospital revealed he had a blood-alcohol content of .087 percent, which is above the legal limit of .08 percent.
The Montgomery County District Attorney charged the defendant with one count of intoxication manslaughter, two counts of intoxication assault, and two counts of aggravated assault with serious bodily injury. The defendant was also charged with another criminal count for an unrelated incident back in April. A magistrate set the defendant’s total bail at $111,000.
Drunk Driving Can Turn an Accident Into a Felony Case
Had nobody been injured or killed, the defendant, in this case, would likely only be facing a Class B misdemeanor charge of “boating while intoxicated, which carries a potential jail term of between 3 and 180 days. Unfortunately, whenever drunk driving of any type results in injury or death, the Penal Code considers that a felony.
Specifically, intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony. So if the defendant, in this case, is ultimately convicted in the death of his passenger, the defendant faces up to 20 years in prison on that charge alone. The two intoxication assault counts are each considered third-degree felonies, which separately carry a jail term of between 2 and 10 years in prison.
So as you can see, having a few drinks while out on the lake and operating a boat can lead to some serious criminal charges if you get into an accident. Some people think that because they are on a boat, police will not take drunk driving that seriously. But that is not the case at all.
Work With Our Houston Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges following any type of drunk driving accident and need legal representation from an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today to schedule an initial consultation with a member of our team.