You were out, having fun, and you had a few drinks. You figured you were fine to drive, however, because you didn’t particularly feel drunk.
You weren’t actually fine, however, and someone got badly hurt. Now, you’re facing charges of “intoxication assault.”
Most of the time, drunk driving will get you charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated), which is definitely serious. A charge of intoxication assault is even more serious, however, and is reserved for times when someone is badly hurt as a result of the intoxicated driver’s accidental actions or mistakes.
Texas Penal Code § 49.07 specifically defines intoxication assault as a third-degree felony under most circumstances, although it is possible for the charges to be elevated to an even more serious felony.
You can be charged with intoxicated assault after:
- Boating while intoxicated
- Flying an aircraft while intoxicated
- Operating an amusement park ride while intoxicated
- Assembling a moving amusement ride while intoxicated
It doesn’t matter if the victim was a passenger and friend who was along for the ride or a total stranger, as long as they suffered a serious bodily injury — which means they either have permanent disfigurements, have lost the use of a body part or nearly died.
Without any elevation of the charges, a third-degree felony charge of intoxicated assault can net you up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. (It’s also important to mention that voluntary intoxication is never considered a viable defense.)
Building a defense to these kinds of charges requires an experienced approach that focuses on the facts of the case, the evidence the police were able to gather and the way that the law is written. If you’re facing charges, find out how to best protect your interests.