Intoxication manslaughter is when you cause the death of another person by accident or mistake, either while committing the act of BWI or FWI or while operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in a public place (DWI), and by reason of your intoxication. It is the highest-degree intoxication-related offense and occasionally may escalate to a felony murder charge.
Intoxication manslaughter is Felony of the Second Degree
An intoxication manslaughter offense under this section is a felony of the second degree, which can result in a fine up to $10,000 and 2 years to 20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and a driver’s license suspension ranging from 180 days to 2 years. Also upon conviction, there is an annual $1,000-$2,000 surcharge fee for a period of 3 years in order to retain your driver’s license. A felony conviction also disqualifies the person from voting and possessing a firearm.
Where probation is granted, there is still a requirement of a 120-day jail sentence. If the vehicle was driven in a way that made it a “deadly weapon,” then there is an additional penalty that prohibits good time credit in prison to be considered for early release until half of the sentence has been satisfied. A deadly weapon finding may also limit the circumstances in which a person may receive probation.
Ignition Interlock Requirement
As a condition of bond, the court will require you to install a vehicle ignition interlock device on your car, and you will not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an interlock device. This interlock device determines the presence of alcohol in your breath. If the device detects a certain level of alcohol, the vehicle is temporarily disabled. Additionally, the court will order an accused to abstain from alcohol use and use of controlled substances without a prescription. The court may enforce this by ordering random drug testing. In some circumstances, the court may order an accused not to operate a motor vehicle while the case is pending.