Intoxication manslaughter is essentially drunk driving resulting in a death. A 20-year-old driver was charged with the offense on Saturday after he hit a utility pole in Northwest Dallas, killing one of his passengers and injuring another.
The Dallas Morning News reported the comments of police who believe Emmanuel Gonzalez, 20, was “driving at a high rate of speed” when, about he lost control of his car at around 2:25 a.m., and hit a utility pole in the 10900 block of Webb Chapel Road, police said.
An 18-year-old female passenger who was sitting in the back of the car was killed at the accident scene. Another passenger, a 19-year-old man was taken to a local hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. A third passenger in the car was not injured, according to the Dallas Morning News report.
Gonzalez was later charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault. The identity of the deceased woman was not released. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office said on Nov. 1 it was still working to identify her.
Texas, lawmakers created the intoxication manslaughter offense for situations where a drunk or intoxicated person operates a motor vehicle and causes the death of someone else. While Texas is currently the only state that has identified “intoxication manslaughter” as an independent offense, other states have similar homicide laws that apply when a driver is accused of causing a death under the influence of alcohol. Depending on the state, these laws are known as DUI manslaughter, DUI causing injury or death, vehicular manslaughter, or by another term.
Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony carrying a potential prison term of 2-20 years. Although a person charged with the crime is eligible for probation, he or she must serve a minimum of 120 days in jail as a condition of that probation.
As is the case in DWI cases, Broden & Mickelsen are diligent in filing motions to suppress if there was no probable cause to arrest the person for intoxication manslaughter. If the judge determines that there was no probable cause to arrest a defendant, the charge may be dismissed or reduced. If a client elects for a trial, we will zealously represent him at trial, aggressively cross examine the arresting police officer and help him make the decision whether to testify on his own behalf. If he decides not to go to trial, we will represent him to obtain a favorable plea bargain or perhaps a plea to a lesser offense.
Regardless of whether you think you were at fault for an alcohol related crime, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as you are involved in an accident or investigated for a crime.