If you live in Denton County or anywhere else in Texas, you know it’s against the law to drink and drive. It’s also illegal to drive under the influence of illegal drugs or lawfully-prescribed medications. If you drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs and you seriously hurt someone else, you could face intoxication assault charges under Section 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code.
Under Sec. 49.07(a) of the Penal Code, you commit the offense of intoxication assault if by accident or mistake, you cause serious bodily injury to another person while intoxicated.
Under Sec. 49.01(2), “intoxicated” means “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.”
What Counts as Serious Bodily Injury?
What does Sec. 49.07 mean by serious bodily injury? It means an injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or an injury that causes:
- Serious permanent disfigurement, or
- Protracted loss of a bodily member or organ, or
- Protracted impairment of a function of any bodily member or organ.
There are many ways that you can injure someone else in a drunk or drugged driving accident to the extent that you’re charged with intoxication assault. The victim can even make a complete recovery eventually, and you can still face this serious charge.
Suppose the victim had a traumatic brain injury. Though they healed within a year of the accident, the injury itself placed the victim at serious risk of death. If it weren’t for the high-quality hospital care they received, they wouldn’t have made it.
If the victim broke their arms or legs, or broke their neck, or couldn’t walk for three months after the accident – these would all be considered serious injuries, and could lead to intoxication assault charges.
Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $10,000 under Sec. 12.34 of the Penal Code.
Related: Penalties for DWI in Denton, Texas
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