Any arrest for drunk driving in Texas is a serious matter, but the stakes are much higher if you were involved in a DWI accident. Whereas a basic violation of state laws is typically a Class B Misdemeanor, an auto crash elevates the charges to intoxication assault – a Third Degree Felony punishable by a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years, though a judge could order up to 10 years of incarceration.
If a person was killed as a result of a DWI collision, the charge becomes intoxication manslaughter. This offense is a Second Degree Felony with a potential prison sentence up to 20 years.
If you have been arrested after a DWI accident, you can expect that the prosecution is already working diligently in an effort to convict. It is critical that you level the playing field by retaining a Houston DWI accidents lawyer who is prepared to fight the charges and obtain the best possible outcome for you. Possibly defense strategies may include:
Contesting the Prosecution’s Allegations
One of your first opportunities to fight DWI accident charges will come when the prosecutor is presenting testimony and evidence to support its case-in-chief. Always remember that the prosecution is required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. Plus, the government must establish each element of a crime according to this high standard of proof. As a result, your approach to defending the charges may center on:
- Causation: The collision must have occurred by reason of intoxication. If other factors could have contributed to the crash, the causation element is weak. For instance, if the driver of the other vehicle was speeding or ran through a red light, that person’s conduct was also a cause.
- Serious Bodily Injury: DWI accident charges only apply when the victim’s injuries create a substantial risk of death, cause serious permanent disfigurement, or lead to impairment.
- Cause of Death: Causation is also an essential element in a fatal drunk driving crash, so the prosecutor’s case could be weakened if the death was not related to the accident. An example may be where the victim was transported to a hospital after the collision, but then died of infection.
Defenses to DWI Accident Charges
Once the prosecution rests, your DWI defense lawyer will present your side of the case. A key strategy will likely be contesting the results of a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
The circumstances underlying the test may not comply with the law, especially with respect to maintenance and calibration of breathalyzer devices. You also may be able to take advantage of constitutional defenses if officials violated your rights to due process and equal protection, as well as other civil liberties.
Discuss Strategies with a Houston DWI Accidents Attorney
These are just a few options for fighting intoxication assault or manslaughter charges, but there may be additional defense available depending on the details of your case. Our team at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates is prepared to aggressively fight for your rights, so please call 713-802-1631 to set up a consultation today.