20-Year-Old Charged with Two Counts of Intoxication Manslaughter

Early on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Shayla Joseph and her 9-month-old daughter were headed southbound on the feeder road of the Gulf Freeway near Clear Lake at El Dorado. Suddenly, an SUV traveling at a high speed slammed into the back of the compact car in which they were riding, killing both.

The lives of both were ended by an intoxicated driver, authorities allege. They have charged 20-year-old Veronica Rivas with two counts of intoxicated manslaughter, a second degree felony. Law enforcement officials allegedly observed signs of alcohol impairment during their investigation, and Rivas' blood alcohol content was reportedly 0.21, more than double the legal limit of 0.08.

Rivas is free on a $60,000 bail. State District Judge George Powell imposed bail conditions requiring a GPS ankle monitor, confining her to her residence, and prohibiting her from driving, except to court. If she is convicted, she faces 20 years in prison for each second degree felony.

Prosecutors have reason to believe Rivas was coming from an establishment that served her the alcohol, and are investigating to determine if charges should be brought against it.

This horrific event is terrible for all involved. Most importantly, the family, and loved ones of Shayla Joseph and her daughter are mourning their untimely deaths. But, in addition, Rivas has drastically damaged her own life and brought grief to herself and her family.

Officials need to investigate thoroughly the circumstances under which Rivas obtained the alcohol she reportedly consumed. If Rivas is convicted in accordance with due process of law, the criminal justice system should impose punishment upon her that is just and that sends a message to all. The message needs to warn all who would drink and drive that recklessly imposing risks upon themselves and other motorists will not be tolerated. In addition, if a bar or restaurant served Rivas unlawfully, its owners must be brought to justice. And the message from their prosecution should also inform any who would serve alcoholic beverages to underage patrons that they too will face punishment.

Finally, though nothing can replace the loss of life, the civil justice system may further be called upon to provide justice for the victims.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a drunk driver, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz by calling 713-222-7211 or toll free at 1-800-870-9584.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories