In many cases, a first-time drunk driving charge in Texas will be a misdemeanor offense. This is not always true, especially for commercial drivers and people in certain professions, but many Beaumont residents could find it relatively easy to move on with their lives after a drunk driving conviction.
Sadly, there are times in which a person gets accused of drunk driving for the first time but right after they were involved in a deadly car accident.
In these situations, authorities may charge the driver with intoxication manslaughter. This is a serious felony offense which could land a person in prison for up to 20 years. Even first-time offenders are subject to these harsh penalties.
Additionally, the person may also have to pay up to $10,000 in fines and may have to face other consequences. For example, after a serious felony, finding a job might be a difficult prospect.
Intoxication manslaughter charges do not require a person to crash on purpose
A person can face an intoxication manslaughter charge even for what otherwise would amount to an honest mistake.
For example, if a person has had a couple of beers and is just over the legal limit but runs a stop light and causes a fatal accident, the person may face an intoxication manslaughter charge. In other words, this charge is not just for people who flagrantly break the law.
On the other hand, if a person is not at fault for an accident, authorities might not be able to file the intoxication manslaughter charge.
Also, the authorities will have to prove that the person they are accusing was legally drunk at the time of the accident.
An intoxication manslaughter charge is a serious offense, and a person faced with this type of charge should be well aware of his or her legal options.