Anyone in Houston who is convicted of drunk driving faces serious penalties, but drunk driving frequently leads to even more serious criminal charges. An example was recently provided when an allegedly drunk driver crashed into the rear of a Houston Police Department Vehicle, killing the driver.
A Houston police constable apparently noticed a vehicle in her rearview mirror whose movements seemed to indicate that the driver was intoxicated. The constable pulled over, apparently planning to let the suspected drunk driver pass her so that she could then follow and pull the driver over. Unfortunately, the suspect did not stop or attempt to avoid the patrol car. Instead, the suspect crashed into the rear of the police vehicle, setting it on fire and killing the constable.
The suspect was arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter of a peace officer. Under Texas law, this crime is classified as a second degree felony. The punishment for second class felonies is imprisonment from 2 to 20 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
The media reports of this incident omit a number of crucial facts, and many questions about the incident remain. Was a blood test taken at a time close to the time of the accident? Did any witnesses see the suspect evidencing signs of drunkenness? What evidence may have been consumed in the fire that destroyed the vehicles? Can the prosecution prove drunkenness beyond a reasonable doubt?
Anyone facing similar charges may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for an analysis of the evidence, suggested defense strategies, and, where appropriate, assistance in negotiating an appropriate plea bargain.