Intoxication assault is a type of Felony DWI that involves serious bodily injury. The definition of intoxication assault is listed in the section 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code. Intoxication assault shares these four elements of basic DWI charge, all of which must be proved for a conviction:
- A motor vehicle
- While intoxicated
- In a public place
For an intoxication assault, all of these above elements must be present. In addition, there must be one more showing: by accident or mistake, the person causes serious bodily injury to another person.
What is Serious Bodily Injury?
The statute defines serious bodily injury as injury that causes the serious risk of death or physical disfigurement or the permanent or long term loss of a bodily member or bodily function. It's more than just cuts and scrapes. Sometimes, in these cases, the injury occurs to another motorist or a pedestrian. Sometimes, the injury can impact a friend or a family member who is riding inside the car of the defendant in a single car accident.
Intoxication Assault is a Third Degree Felony
An allegation of serious bodily injury greatly increases the DWI punishment. Basic DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. Intoxication assault is a third degree felony, and carries a range of punishment of two years and 10 years of prison time, and a maximum fine of up to $10,000 fine. Because of the gravity of the charge, there will almost always be a Blood Draw in DWI cases with serious bodily injury. The law used to allow for a mandatory, warrantless blood draw, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this was an illegal search in 2013 in the landmark case Missouri v. McNeely. Police must have a warrant now, unless a person consents.
No Intent is Required for DWI
The phrase ‘by accident or mistake’ signifies that the prosecution does not have to prove the driver had any intent whatsoever. All they have to show is that serious bodily injury occurred.