Intoxication Assault Lawyer in Austin, Temple, and Georgetown Texas
If you have been charged with intoxication assault, you need an aggressive lawyer who can help you handle your charge.
When you are charged with intoxication assault, it comes with years of potential prison time, and can lead you to feel a wide variety of emotions. You need to take steps immediately to protect your rights.
First off, do not give any statements to law enforcement without the presence of an attorney. Instead, call an intoxication assault lawyer with years of experience to help you with your case. Eric Harron has been handling offenses including intoxication assault for over 15 years. Call him today at (512) 963-8855 to get the trusted and experienced representation you need.
Below you will find additional information about the Texas intoxication assault charge you are facings.
What is an Intoxication Assault in Texas?
In Texas, Intoxication assault is when an individual is driving while intoxicated and is involved in an accident that seriously injures another person. Simply injuring another person is not enough to get you charged The injury must create a substantial risk of death, cause a serious permanent disfigurement such as facial scars, or protracted loss of use of part of their body.
Commonly the victim of intoxication assault is someone driving another vehicle or a pedestrian. However, it is not unusual that the victim is a passenger in the intoxicated person’s car.Simply put, an intoxicated person caused an accident or hit a parked car or structure and their passenger received serious injuries as a result.
What is Considered Intoxication By Texas Law?
Intoxicated means not having the normal use of your mental or physical facilities due to the introduction of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of both alcohol and drugs. If an individual has only used alcohol, then having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more is considered intoxicated in the state of Texas.
This means you can be legally intoxicated even if you still had the normal use of your physical facilities. In other words, you look normal and can keep your balance, but you are not making sense when talking to officers. Your case can also be a physical facilities case, meaning you sound normal and can answer questions logically but cannot walk or balance well.
Or, if you can keep your balance and can answer questions logically, but through a breath or blood test the state can prove that your alcohol concentration was over .08, then prosecutors can still consider you intoxicated. With these alone, the state of Texas can try to prove an intoxication offense against you.
Is it Possible to Beat an Intoxication Assault Charge?
Yes! However, beating an intoxication assault charge doesn’t come without its challenges. The best way to be prepared to beat your case is to hire an intoxication assault lawyer with experience.
It is possible to have a case dismissed or obtain a not guilty verdict on any criminal charge. Intoxication assault is no different. The state must prove each and every element of the charge beyond any reasonable doubt. This is a very high burden. A jury that is pretty sure someone is guilty does not cut it.
The burden of proof requires more than even a clear and convincing evidentiary standard. To be convicted, the state must prove beyond any reasonable doubt that you are guilty of each element of intoxication assault. Common defenses to Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas include:
- Injuries should not be considered serious bodily injury. The severity of the injury is always in question when dealing with an intoxication assault case.
- Not operating the vehicle. The state may not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt you were behind the wheel.
- Not intoxicated. The state has to prove you were intoxicated at the time you were operating the vehicle. It does not matter if you were intoxicated before you were operating the vehicle or after you were operating the vehicle. What matters is intoxication while operating the vehicle.
This is an important distinction in these types of cases. Frequently there are injuries involved that prevent standardized field sobriety tests. Also, blood samples may not be taken until significantly after an accident. How and when blood samples were taken can present major hurdles for the prosecution to overcome.
What is The Punishment For Intoxication Assault?
Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony. The sentencing range is from two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Probation is an option for intoxication assault.
You can do your best to avoid this by having the right representation. Call (512) 963-8855 for a consultation about your case.
Who Decides The Punishment For Intoxication Assault?
The punishment is determined by one of three ways.
- The most common way is through a negotiated plea with the district attorney handling the case. This will be an agreement between the district attorney and the defense attorney representing the person charged. The judge will still have to sign off on the plea bargain.
- Through jury sentencing. This is done after a trial on the merits of the case. Jury sentencing can also be done after a guilty plea directly to a jury. This is typically done when the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney cannot reach an agreement and decide to let the public decide the outcome after a presentation of the evidence and mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
- A judge determines the sentencing. This can be done through an “open plea” or after a trial on the merits. An open plea is where the defendant pleads guilty to the court but does not have a plea bargain in place; meaning the judge will decide how many years are appropriate to send the person to prison or how long to place them on probation. This method still involves having witnesses testify as to relevant facts in the case and as to what kind of person the defendant is.
What is Taken Into Account With Sentencing?
- Criminal history of the accused
- The level of intoxication of the accused
- The circumstances of the accident
- The severity of the injuries to the victim
- The relationship to the accused (passenger or innocent third party)
- Conduct of the defendant after the accident such as treatment or community service
- Conduct or actions on the part of the victim
Does the Judge Have to Follow a Plea Bargain?
No, the judge does not have to follow a plea bargain. When a judge does not follow a plea agreement, it is what is commonly referred to as “busting a plea bargain”. This is where a judge will look at the circumstances and say, I think this deal is too lenient and I’m not going to allow it.
This is why it is important to have a knowledgeable defense attorney who is familiar with the judge you are in front of. Call The Law Office of Eric Harron at (512) 963-8855. Eric has over 15 years of experience handling intoxication offenses in the State of Texas.
Do The Victim’s Friends and Family Get to Testify in Court?
Yes. If a negotiated plea is reached with the district attorney, the prosecutor is legally obligated to inform the victim of the plea bargain. While their duty is merely to inform the victim, prosecutors typically will let the victim have input on what an appropriate sentence will be.
At the time of sentencing, there may be what is called an allocution. This is where the victim and their family and friends come to speak directly to the defendant from the witness stand after sentencing is imposed. One of the purposes of this is to aid in the healing process for the victim.
While allocutions occur after a sentence is imposed and do not affect the outcome of a case, they are often difficult to watch for the defendant and their family.
If the sentence is decided by a judge or jury, the victim and other witnesses will testify under oath with the goal to impact the severity of the sentence.
If My Blood Was Taken, Can it be Used Against Me?
This involves a complex analysis on just how the blood was drawn, tested, and stored. If the blood was drawn as part of medical treatment for you, then the prosecutor can likely get this into evidence through your medical records.
If blood was drawn in preparation for criminal prosecution, then the police would need a warrant or your consent to draw your blood. he prosecution will have to be able to call as a witness the person who drew the blood as well as the person who tested the blood.
While blood tests may seem black and white, there are actually many different things that can go wrong to produce false readings in blood tests. Here are a few examples.
- Was the injection site first sterilized with an alcohol swab? This can produce a false positive for alcohol.
- How was the blood stored prior to testing? It is not uncommon for blood samples to sit for three to six months prior to testing. There must be refrigeration logs and other chain of custody documents to ensure the blood is still in a form that can produce an accurate test result.
- Was a second sample drawn to allow a test from an independent lab? Frequently, we have samples tested by independent labs which produce a very different result.
In sum, a blood test can potentially be used against you in an intoxication assault case, but there are numerous tools a competent defense attorney can use to exclude the sample or at least minimize its persuasion on a jury in an intoxication assault case.
What is the Difference Between Intoxicated Assault and Aggravated Assault
Sometimes prosecutors try to charge what should be an intoxication assault as an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. This can sometimes be done if there are particularly bad driving facts such as an extremely high rate of speed or driving the wrong way on a road.
To prove an aggravated assault, prosecutors must show that you were reckless in your driving and caused serious bodily injury to another. The vehicle in this scenario is typically alleged to have been a “deadly weapon”. This is sometimes done for two reasons:
- The state may have trouble proving you were intoxicated. Intoxication is not an element of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
- Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon is a second-degree felony. If the prosecutor believes they can prove Aggravated assault they can potentially seek a longer prison sentence.
How Much of a Prison Sentence for Intoxication Assault Will I Have to Serve?
The answer to this question is actually very complicated and depends on the sentence your defense attorney was able to obtain for you. Eric Harron has frequently obtained probation for his clients when the case was not otherwise dismissed. For the best representation, call (512) 963-8855 today.
The length of probation depends on numerous factors such as prior criminal history and the severity of the injuries in the case.
If a deadly weapon is alleged in your indictment you will have to serve one-half of your sentence before being eligible for parole and a minimum of two years.
While people typically think of guns and knives as deadly weapons, an intoxication assault charge a grand jury can consider a vehicle to be the deadly weapon.
With no deadly weapon finding, you will be eligible for parole much sooner. Frequently people sentenced to prison are parole eligible as early as after 20% of their time served. This is dependent on how much good time credit (also considered good behavior credit) is earned.
When you actually get paroled depends on Texas Department of Criminal Justice parole policies in place at the time your case is reviewed.
Will I Have to Get an Ignition Interlock Device, Portable Alcohol Monitor, or SCRAM Device?
As a condition of your pretrial release for intoxication assault, the magistrate, or later presiding judge, will likely order that you are not to consume alcohol while out on bond. They verify this in a variety of ways:
- The least restrictive is with a device on your car called an ignition interlock device. This prevents you from operating your car if you have any alcohol in your system.
- Slightly more restrictive is the portable alcohol monitor or PAM device. This is like a portable ignition interlock device not connected to a car. The court will assign you windows of time when you will have to blow into the PAM. If you fail to blow in the device when you are supposed to, the judge might try to revoke your bond.
- Finally, the most intrusive and most expensive is the SCRAM device or SCRAM bracelet. SCRAM stands for secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring. This is an ankle bracelet that monitors your sweat output continuously for alcohol. You are not allowed to remove the device and it is locked onto you.
A court can order one or all of these devices depending on your circumstances. If ordered to have any of these devices, it is extremely important to abstain from alcohol. It is also important to take care not to use any products that contain alcohol, such as mouthwash or cough syrup, as those can trigger a false positive for alcohol that can get you in trouble.
Will I Lose My Driver’s License?
If accused of Intoxication assault your license can be suspended in two different ways.
- The accusation triggers an administrative license revocation. In the event you refuse to provide a breath or blood sample, or have a sample that shows an alcohol concentration of greater than .08, the Texas DPS will try to suspend your license. This suspension is automatic if you do not quickly request a hearing to contest it.
- The periods of suspension range from three months to two years depending on whether you refused to provide a breath or blood sample and whether or not this is your first or a subsequent accusation in the last ten years. This is known as an administrative license revocation or ALR for short. Your ALR suspension can be fought if you request a hearing on the matter within 15 days of the date of arrest.
You can also have your license suspended as part of a sentence in a criminal case. For example, through a plea bargain or after a trial, the criminal court judge can order a license suspension. These typically do not last longer than two years. Oftentimes these suspensions can also be run concurrently with an ALR suspension. This of course will minimize the actual amount of time your license is suspended.
For both types of license suspensions, your attorney may be able to obtain an occupational license for you that will allow you to drive to work or perform household duties. Call (512) 963-8855 for the best representation in Texas.
Why Do You Need an Intoxication Assault Lawyer?
In sum, there are many different layers to be dealt with when defending against an intoxication assault charge. Contact the Law Office of Eric Harron today or visit one of our locations in Austin, Temple or Georgetown. Call the Law Office of Eric Harron today to have your specific questions answered and to schedule a free consultation to determine the best approach to defend against your specific charges. Your Content Goes Here