If you are facing intoxication manslaughter charges, you are probably overwhelmed and scared about the potential of a conviction changing your entire life. It is critical to reaching out to a local criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A qualified Sugar Land defense attorney will argue for a lesser sentence and the possibility of probation.
What is Intoxication Manslaughter?
In Texas, you can be charged with intoxication manslaughter if you caused a fatality while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You may not have intended any harm, but you caused the death of a person, nonetheless. Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas. It is punishable by two to twenty years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and between 240 and 800 hours of community service.
Is It Possible to Get Probation on an Intoxication Manslaughter Conviction in Fort Bend?
In Fort Bend county, it is possible to get probation on an intoxication manslaughter conviction. To achieve this outcome, it is critical to work with a skilled defense attorney. Texas has some of the toughest DWI sentencing laws in the country, and probation is far from guaranteed in intoxication manslaughter cases. It is at the discretion of the judge whether or not to award probation.
Unlike other offenses, the prison sentence for intoxication manslaughter cannot be entirely probated. Convicted defendants are required to serve a minimum jail sentence of 120 to 180 days. The length of your probation will depend on the facts of your particular case.
What is Intoxication Manslaughter Probation in Fort Bend?
In Texas, probation is community supervision during which the defendant must meet strict requirements. If you are granted probation, you can remain in the community instead of being locked up in jail. During probation, you can work and provide financial support to your family while avoiding the trauma of prison.
There common conditions of DWI probation include:
- Reporting at least monthly to a court probation officer;
- Attending DWI and substance abuse education classes;
- Completing community service;
- Completing alcohol and drug evaluations;
- Abstaining from alcohol;
- Installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle;
- Submitting to random drug tests;
- Committing no other criminal offenses during the length of probation;
- Permitting home and work inspections by a probation officer;
- Staying employed;
- Receiving permission before leaving the county or state;
- Supporting your dependents; and
- Notifying the court if your place of employment or home address changes.
You are responsible for the costs of your own probation in Fort Bend. The fees can be substantial.
Can Intoxication Manslaughter Probation End Early in Fort Bend?
In Texas, you cannot be released early from probation on a DWI conviction, including intoxication manslaughter. This rule is different than probation for most non-DWI offenses. However, in some counties, judges may place probationers onto “non-reporting” status on a case-by-case basis. When you are “non-reporting,” you are longer required to meet in person with your probation officer.
What Happens If I Have an Intoxication Manslaughter Probation Violation in Fort Bend?
The conditions of intoxication manslaughter probation can be extremely restricting, and the consequences of violating a probation requirement can be very severe.
If law enforcement suspects that you have violated your probation, they will file a motion with the court to revoke your probation. The court will issue a warrant for your arrest and schedule a revocation hearing. At the hearing, the state must prove that you violated your parole by a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence means more likely than not. This burden is a lower standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt” used in criminal cases. You have the right to have your attorney represent your revocation hearing.
If the judge finds that there was a violation, he or she can revoke your parole, and you will have to complete your sentence in prison. If the violation is less serious, the judge may release you but tighten the rules of your probation. One common violation is a “dirty blow” on an ignition interlock device. This happens when the device detects alcohol on your breath. Other less serious violations include missing probation officer meetings or failing to pay a fine.
Your Sugar Land Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing DWI intoxication manslaughter charges, you should reach out to a qualified Sugar Land criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Adam Capetillo is a Fort Bend County native who will protect your rights and provide a skilled and aggressive defense. Call Capetillo Law Firm today for a free consultation.