Law Guide to Intoxication Assault in Texas

In Texas, if you are driving while intoxicated and cause injury to another person while behind the wheel, you can be charged with an additional crime of intoxication assault. This charge requires that the prosecution prove not only that the driver was intoxicated behind the wheel, but that the accident also caused serious bodily injury to another.

Texas Intoxication Assault

The Texas Penal Code, Section 49.07, defines the crime of intoxicated assault as when “A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake: while operating an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated, or while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another; or as a result of assembling a mobile amusement ride while intoxicated causes serious bodily injury to another.” In order to be deemed intoxicated, the Texas Penal Code, Section 49.01, requires that a person either:
  • Not have the use of their normal mental or physical faculties by reason of induction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more substances, or any other substance into the body, or
  • Have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more
In the same section of the law, the term “serious bodily injury” means that the other person involved in the accident suffered “injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”

Penalties for Intoxication Assault

Texas law dictates that the crime of intoxication assault is considered a felony of the third degree. This type of felony includes the following penalties:
  • Fine: Up to $10,000
  • Prison sentence: Between two and ten years
  • Community service: Between 160 and 600 hours
  • Driver’s license suspended: 90 days to one year
  • Installation of an interlock device
  • Completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program
  • Probation
If the intoxication assault injured a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency personnel the crime is elevated to a felony of the second degree. This type of felony includes the following penalties:
  • Fine: Up to $10,000
  • Prison sentence: Between two and twenty years
  • Community service: Up to 1,000 hours
  • Driver’s license suspended: 90 days to two years
  • Installation of an interlock device
  • Completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program
  • Probation
Penalties for intoxication assault are also enhanced if the accident takes place within five years of any other driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense, including another intoxicated assault offense, intoxication