What is Considered Intoxication Assault?

Intoxication assault is a serious criminal offense under Texas law that is treated differently from ordinary assault. The charge of intoxication assault can result from many different scenarios including plane crashes, DUI accidents and boating accidents. It is a serious felony that typically results in significant prison time, not to mention potentially crushing civil liability. The prosecution does not have to prove that you intended the injury in order to convict you of this crime. For more information on a specific case contact Houston DWI expert lawyer Mario Madrid.


An intoxicant means alcohol or any other dangerous drug, whether legal or not, that is known to cause intoxication. A Texas prosecutor can prove that you were intoxicated in either of two ways.

  • By establishing that you had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent, regardless of your degree of impairment; or
  • By establishing that your mental and/or physical facilities were significantly impaired as a result of your consumption of an intoxicant.

You can be convicted of intoxication assault even if your intoxication was involuntary (you thought you had taken vitamins, for example, but you actually took codeine).

Means of Injury

This offense requires you to have committed the assault under the following circumstances:

  • Operating an aircraft, watercraft or amusement ride
  • Operating a motor vehicle in a public place
  • Assembling a mobile amusement ride (even if the injury takes place much later)

“Serious Bodily Injury”

Texas criminal law defines “serious bodily injury” with some specificity. A serious bodily injury must involve either:

  • Significant risk of death (great loss of blood, for example), or
  • Serious and permanent body disfigurement (loss of a limb, for example), or
  • Long-term loss or impairment of an organ or member of the body (brain damage, for example)


Normally, intoxication assault is classified as a third-degree felony that carries the following penalties:

  • 2 to 10 years imprisonment
  • A fine of no more than $10,000
  • Both of the foregoing penalties

Enhanced Penalties

The offense of intoxication assault can be upgraded to a second-degree felony if the victim suffers a traumatic brain injury that leaves him in a persistent vegetative state, or if the victim was an on-duty firefighter, emergency medical worker, or peace officer (such as a police officer). Penalties include:

  • 2 to 20 years in prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Both of the foregoing penalties

Intoxication Manslaughter

If the defendant is charged with intoxication assault and the victim dies of his injuries before the criminal case is concluded, the charge might be upgraded to intoxication manslaughter, a second-degree felony with penalty ranges that are identical to the enhanced penalties for intoxication assault. In some cases, intoxication manslaughter is treated as a first-degree felony.

Fighting Back

Houston criminal defense attorney Mario Madrid has enjoyed nearly two decades of practicing law as defense attorney, prosecutor and judge. He is a certified specialist in Criminal Law and a proud member of the National College of DUI Defense Attorneys. If you have been charged with intoxication assault in the Houston metro area, call Madrid Law, PLLC at 713-877-9400 for a free initial consultation.

What is Considered Intoxication Assault?

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