Plano driver faces 18 years in prison for intoxication manslaughter

A Plano man was recently sentenced to concurrent 18- and 10-year prison sentences for charges of intoxication manslaughter and leaving the scene.

In Texas, a conviction of driving under the influence can carry steep consequences, regardless of whether any harm results from a driver's alleged actions. In accidents that involve injury or death, the sanctions can be even more severe. A recent case in Collin County underscored the seriousness of these charges. According to The Plano Star Courier, a Plano man faces 18 years in prison after being convicted of intoxication manslaughter.

Man charged for intoxication, fleeing

Prosecutors allege that the man caused the fatal accident when he struck another moving car from behind. The crash was severe enough to disable both vehicles. The collision also caused a third vehicle to hit the vehicle that had been rear-ended. The driver of the vehicle that was hit twice was severely injured and trapped in his car. He later succumbed to his injuries.

The driver who was convicted of intoxication manslaughter sustained a head injury during the crash. Afterward, he allegedly left the scene on foot. Authorities later found the driver unconscious and took him to the hospital. In the course of the driver's treatment, his blood was drawn. Testing later indicated a blood alcohol content level of .226.

The jury sentenced the man to 10 years imprisonment for leaving the scene of the crash. This sentence will run concurrent to the intoxication manslaughter sentence. Still, even with concurrent sentences, the man faces a significant period of incarceration, along with other serious potential sanctions.

Serious charges and consequences

Under the Texas Penal Code, a person can be charged with intoxication manslaughter if his or her intoxication is a direct factor in another person's death. The person also must be operating a vehicle in a public place at the time of the accident.

Intoxication manslaughter is almost always classified as a second-degree felony. However, state law makes an exception if the accident victim died while acting as a police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional. Then, intoxication manslaughter is a first-degree felony.

For a second-degree felony, a person may face imprisonment ranging from two to 20 years. People convicted of first-degree felonies may face between five and 99 years in prison. Fines for a first or second-degree felony may reach $10,000. In addition to these sanctions, drivers may face license loss and mandatory community service. The collective impact of these sanctions may extend far beyond any prison terms a driver is sentenced to.

Protecting personal rights

The consequences of a conviction of intoxication manslaughter or a similarly serious offense can be devastating. Anyone facing charges of this magnitude should consider consulting with a criminal defense attorney to determine how to address those charges.

Keywords: DUI, drunk driving, arrest, charges