A defendant recently sentenced to prison time for a DWI learned a hard fact: The stakes are higher when someone dies in connection with a DWI. That driver made a plea deal with the state when evidence was produced in court that he had been driving with a blood alcohol content level three times the legal limit.
Patrick Haden, the victim in this case, was memorialized by his wife in the story being reported. She said that her husband made everything in her life ok. It is exactly that kind of emotion that is brought to bear in a case involving DWI and death. When emotions are at their highest, those bringing charges in the criminal justice system feel obligated to make an example out of the accused.
That is what happened here. The man accused of DWI manslaughter was sentenced to 12 years in prison, and must serve at least six. From the view of the prosecution in this case, they just wanted to get him off the road so he would not endanger the public anymore. Those are the feeling and sentiments than anyone facing DWI manslaughter charges are fighting.
Prison Time for DWI Manslaughter
Under the Texas Penal Code DWI manslaughter is a second degree felony. To be found guilty, the prosecution must prove several things beyond a reasonable doubt. First, they must prove that the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. Next, they must prove that the drunk driver caused the person to die. This does not mean that just because you are charged with DWI manslaughter that you are guilty.
There will be incredible pressure on anyone who is being charged with a second degree felony. Some defense attorneys may just advise an accused to plead to a good deal. But every case is fact based, and there may be some facts involved in a case that should encourage the driver to take his or her case to trial. For example, even if a person is driving drunk, but the accident is actually caused by the victim in a crash, then that could be a defense that the drunk driver did not actually cause the death.
As we discussed, DWI manslaughter is a second degree felony under Texas law. So, the stakes are high when a person faces these charges. If convicted, a person is facing prison, not jail time. Being marked as a felon means certain privileges will likely be lost, like the right to vote, possess a firearm, and more. Having a record with a felony on it will make it more difficult to get a job down the road, get housing, and will affect many aspects of a person’s life. That is why the stakes are so high.
Defending the Charge
If you are facing these kinds of serious charges, think about who you want defending your case. At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm we handle and defend every type of DWI charge, from the very minor to the most serious. After becoming you legal team we will investigate the facts, analyze the law, and provide you with your best options under the circumstances. We will not be afraid to take your case to trial, and you should not be either. Contact us today.