The Problem with Aggravated Assault and DWI
The law is very unethical when it comes to Aggravated Assault when mixed with DWI.
There is a specific crime, called “Intoxication Assault,” that combines assault with DWI and is a 2nd degree felony. Intoxication Assault requires serious bodily injury (SBI), which generally means broken bones, amputations, and other injuries that one might consider serious. A simple accident involving some cuts and bruises is not enough for Intoxication Assault, meaning the State should only have the ability to charge for DWI. There is one major problem with this, however.
Even if the State cannot prove SBI, they law provides a work-around in Aggravated Assault (also a 2nd degree felony). The general perception of Aggravated Assault is that it, too, requires serious bodily injury. This is not the truth, though. Aggravated Assault requires either Serious Bodily Injury OR using/exhibiting a deadly weapon. Unfortunately, a car can be a deadly weapon. This means the State will nonsensically charge you for BOTH Aggravated Assault and DWI. Even more nonsensical, this means that just about any DWI involving an accident could be an Aggravated Assault. The legislature could not possibly intend for such unethical use of the law. This is a very real problem for Texas DWI.
***** THE COFFEY FIRM ALWAYS INTENDS TO HOLD THE STATE TO ITS BURDEN OF PROOF. THE STATE STILL NEEDS TO PROVE (AT THE LEAST) “RECKLESSNESS” AS PART OF THE ASSAULT. RECKLESSNESS MEANS CONSCIOUS DISREGARD OF SUBSTANTIAL OR UNJUSTIFIABLE RISK. INTOXICATION IS NOT RECKLESS PER SE, MEANING PROOF OF INTOXICATION DOESN’T “PROVE” RECKLESSNESS.