There is a difference in the legal ramifications between assault and intoxication assault. Intoxication assault is a serious crime in Texas, and it is treated and punished differently than regular assault. The addition of intoxication can result from driving anything while intoxicated: a boat, a vehicle or even flying a plane. Anytime that you choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive while intoxicated, and you hurt someone, it is considered intoxication assault and carries some stiff penalties and punishment.
Not only are there criminal consequences for intoxication assault, but there are likely to be civil cases to follow. The prosecution might not be able to prove their case or convict you, but a civil case takes far less evidence to find in favor of the plaintiff. Even if you are found not guilty of intoxication assault in a criminal case, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be held liable to pay for damages done, which in some instances can alter your financial status irreparably.
What does intoxication mean?
According to an assault attorney Queens, for intoxication assault to be alleged, the person has to have taken any intoxicant — whether it is alcohol or drugs. That includes both legal and illegal drugs. If a person is on prescription drugs, it does not absolve them from being intoxicated; they still have a duty not to drive and endanger the public. There are two ways that a prosecutor can prove in a court of law that you were intoxicated at the time of an incident.
They can use a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of more than 0.08%. If you have a BAC level higher than 0.08%, it makes no difference if you are impaired personally. It is the minimum percentage that many studies have shown that impairment exists.
They can also establish that your mental or physical behaviors were impaired due to whatever intoxicant you took. That can be done through a “field sobriety test,” or just through an examination of your driving behaviors.
The types of injury
To be convicted of intoxication assault you have to have committed an act of assault under the following conditions:
- Operating a watercraft, amusement ride, or aircraft
- Operating a motor vehicle in a public area
- Assembling an amusement ride for the public to use, even if the incident occurs much later and due to your negligence
Serious bodily injury
To be convicted of intoxication assault, there must be “serious bodily injury” that resulted from your actions. A serious bodily injury is described as:
- A grave risk of death like internal injuries or an exorbitant amount of blood loss.
- Permanent body disfigurement or disability.
- The loss of an organ or a limb.
If you are convicted of intoxication assault, it carries with it, a third-degree felony charge. These are the penalties that you will be subject to:
- Two to ten years in prison
- A $10,000 or less fine
There are times when your acts are so egregious that the intoxication assault can carry a second-degree felony charge, which is harsher than a third-degree charge. If a victim suffers an injury that leaves them in a vegetative state, or if the victim is a public servant such as an emergency medical provider, officer, or firefighter, the charges can be elevated. The stiffer penalties of a second-degree felony are:
- Two to twenty years behind bars
- Fines that are less than $10,000
If the victim dies of the injuries that resulted from your intoxication assault, then your case will be elevated to intoxication manslaughter. It is a second-degree felony and has penalties that are equal to the enhanced penalties of intoxicated assault. There are times, however, when an intoxication manslaughter might be elevated or treated as a first-degree felony.
If you should be accused of an intoxication assault, it is important to know your rights and to build a good defense. Since the charge is something that could potentially ruin your future and be on your record forever, it is imperative that you have someone on your side who knows the law and can provide you with the best defense possible. Finding a criminal law expert in your area is the best way to fight a conviction and to keep yourself from the very grave consequences that can come with an intoxication assault conviction.