No one expects to end up in an accident. A wrong move or a moment of distraction can have devastating effects, especially if someone else suffers fatal injuries. Since such a high percentage of fatal accidents involve drunk drivers, among the first things investigating officers do at the scene of a fatal accident is to attempt to determine if either driver had been drinking.
If you are now facing charges of intoxication manslaughter, it is likely because police believe you were experiencing impairment at the time of the accident. This is a very serious felony charge in Texas, and law enforcement takes such matters quite seriously. If convicted of the charges, you may be facing severe penalties, including significant time in prison.
Gathering evidence against you
Intoxication manslaughter means investigators believe your alcohol consumption contributed to an accident that resulted in someone else’s death, including a passenger in your own vehicle. Just having an accident does not mean you will face arrest for DWI or a charged for a crime, even if someone suffers injuries. However, the accident may allow officers to reasonably suspect an unlawful act. If they do suspect you are impaired, police will immediately begin to collect evidence to use against you, including any of the following:
- Asking if you have been drinking and recording your response
- Observing you for signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, watering eyes or the smell of alcohol on your breath
- Looking for evidence in your vehicle, such as empty alcohol containers or drugs
- Performing field sobriety tests to look for signs of impairment
- Testing your blood alcohol concentration with a preliminary breath test
An officer who concludes you were likely impaired behind the wheel may decide to arrest you even if your BAC is not above the legal limit. You would be wise to remain silent throughout the investigation until you can speak with an attorney who can advise you how best to respond.
Dealing with the aftermath
Involvement in a fatal accident can be a life-changing experience in many ways. However, if you are now facing criminal charges resulting from the accident, you have much to lose. It will be important to have a legal professional review the evidence against you and to obtain solid legal advice for the best way to defend yourself against the charges.