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Grant M. Scheiner - Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer

Defending an Intoxication Assault Case

Defending an Intoxication Assault case requires a skillful DWI attorney and an experienced accident reconstructionist working hard to fight for your freedom.  Intoxication Assault is found in section 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code and is a third degree felony. (2-10 years in prison).  In order for the Government to convict  a person of intoxicated assault, it must prove:

1.) the Defendant was intoxicated;

2.) the Defendant caused seriously bodily injury to someone

3.) because of the intoxication

The first prong is nothing more than simple DWI defense.  In alcohol related accidents that cause serious bodily injury, the police are allowed to get a blood  specimen without a warrant or consent of the suspect.  It is important to have a lawyer who is familiar with the proper technique and standards for obtaining a blood specimen.  It may also be necessary to obtain the services of a toxicologist to properly interpret the blood test.  If the government cannot prove intoxication, then the case stops right there.  No criminal act.

The second and third prong are so interwoven, but I think it is helpful to discuss them separately.  The cause of a car wreck is something that civil lawyers have been arguing over in the civil courthouse since the invention of the automobile.  There are many issues to debate.  Oftentimes there are no witnesses to the accident other than the two drivers.  When both drivers are pointing the finger at each other, you may need an accident reconstructionist to determine whose testimony is supported by the physical evidence.  If the government cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt the Defendant caused the accident, then the INTOXICATION ASSAULT case stops.  There may still be a misdemeanor Driving While Intoxicated charge that could stand on its own.

The third prong is the Defendant’s fault in the accident is “by reason of that intoxication.”  Sober motorists have car wrecks all of the time for numerous reasons such as being distracted, being in a hurry, not seeing someone in his blind spot, being unfamiliar with a roadway and the list can go on and on.  If a person is intoxicated, the knee-jerk reaction for law enforcement is to attribute the fault to the intoxication.  Admittedly, this is the hardest prong to defend, but it is possible for an intoxicated person to cause and accident and the cause of it not be related to intoxication.

The softball example is if a defendant is drunk as a skunk, driving down the freeway, and his car mechanically fails, such as power steering goes out, brakes fail to function etc. and he has an accident and another person suffers serious bodily injury.  Then what?  In that case, there is nothing more than a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated case.

— Matthew A. Skillern