Politics

Drunk Drivers Causing Parental Deaths Now Liable For Child Support In Texas

Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times,

Drunk drivers who’re convicted of intoxication manslaughter will now must pay youngster help in the event that they kill a dad or mum or guardian of a kid in a automobile crash, in keeping with a brand new Texas legislation that went into impact on Sept. 1.

The legislation was a bipartisan invoice that Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed in June.

“Any time a parent passes is tragic, but a death at the hands of a drunk driver is especially heinous,” Mr. Abbott said on the time.

“I was proud to sign HB 393 into law this year to require offenders to pay child support for the children of their victims.”

Advocates of the legislation view it as a solution to discourage drunk driving.

Under the legislation, Texas House Bill 393, the courtroom shall order an individual convicted of intoxicated manslaughter “to pay restitution for a child whose parent or guardian was the victim of the offense.”

“[T]he court shall determine an amount to be paid monthly for the support of the child until the child reaches 18 years of age or has graduated from high school, whichever is later,” textual content of the laws reads.

The courtroom will weigh a number of components when deciding the restitution quantity, such because the kid’s monetary scenario and desires. If related, the funds of the surviving dad or mum, guardian, or the Department of Family and Protective Services will probably be taken into consideration. The kid’s lifestyle, general well-being, and any childcare prices because of a working surviving dad or mum can even affect the choice.

Intoxicated manslaughter in Texas has a possible penalty of as much as twenty years in jail.

The particular person convicted of intoxicated manslaughter should begin the kid help funds inside one yr of being launched. They could make a plan for the missed funds and should pay every little thing they owe, even when the cost was supposed to finish whereas they have been in jail.

The funds will proceed till every youngster of the sufferer turns 18.

‘Bentley’s Law’

The legislation has been nicknamed “Bentley’s law.” It was created by Cecilia Williams, a Missouri girl who misplaced her son, daughter-in-law, and four-month-old grandson in a crash that concerned a drunk driver on April 13, 2021.

“I got up out of bed to an officer and a state trooper standing at my door,” Ms. Williams told KSDK-TV in an interview in August 2022.

“They repeatedly told me that they had died in a fiery crash.”

Ms. Williams stated in an announcement on the web site of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD): Bentley’s Law was created out of a tragedy that has affected the lives of two stunning boys, Bentley and Mason, and the lives of our household. These crashes are completely preventable, and I’ll proceed to combat for change for all who’ve suffered from impaired drivers. Many households like mine endure such a loss each second of day-after-day, and Bentley’s Law will convey change to carry the offender accountable for such horrific actions.”

A police officer administers a breathalyzer take a look at to a person at a sobriety checkpoint. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Tennessee grew to become the primary state to move “Bentley’s Law” in July 2022.

Similar legal guidelines are being thought-about in over 20 different states.

Drunk Driving in Texas

Texas has among the many worst charges of drunk driving within the nation, rating third in keeping with a Forbes analysis in late 2022. Montana has the best price, adopted by Wyoming.

According to the evaluation, Texas has essentially the most underage drunk drivers concerned in deadly crashes at roughly 1 per 100,000 residents.

More than 8 drunk drivers per 100,000 have been concerned in deadly crashes, the second-highest quantity behind Montana, the report confirmed.

And almost 40 p.c of all visitors fatalities within the state have been brought on by drunk drivers.

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