Drunken drivers accountable for child support under new Texas law

00:41 03.09.2023

In a groundbreaking move to hold drunken drivers accountable for their actions, a new law in Texas now mandates that those who kill a child's parent or guardian in a crash must pay child support to the victims' children until they reach the age of 18. The bipartisan House Bill 393, also known as Bentley's Law, came into effect on Friday, marking a significant step in seeking justice for the innocent victims of these tragic incidents.

The bill, which was signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on June 2, aims to ensure that offenders are held responsible for the financial support of the children whose lives are forever impacted by their reckless actions. Governor Abbott expressed his support for the legislation, describing deaths caused by drunk drivers as "especially heinous" and emphasizing the importance of providing child support for the victims as a crucial aspect of justice.

Under Bentley's Law, intoxicated manslaughter culprits will be obligated to make child support payments until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. The amount of child support will be determined by the court, taking into consideration various factors, including the child's educational and medical needs, as well as any reasonable child care costs. The court will also consider the standard of living the child is accustomed to before the tragic incident occurred.

In cases where a defendant is unable to fulfill their payment obligations due to incarceration, a payment plan may be arranged. The law stipulates that defendants must commence their payments no later than one year after their release from the correctional facility. Furthermore, any outstanding arrearages must be paid in full by the defendant, regardless of whether the restitution payments were scheduled to terminate during their time of confinement.

Fox News Digital reached out to Governor Abbott for a statement regarding the significance of Bentley's Law, but has not received a response as of yet. Nevertheless, the implementation of this law reflects a collective effort to ensure that the children affected by these devastating incidents are not left without the financial support they deserve.

The impact of this new law is expected to be substantial, as it directly addresses the needs of children who have lost a parent or guardian due to the actions of a drunken driver. By holding offenders accountable for their financial responsibilities, Bentley's Law symbolizes a powerful step towards justice and support for the victims of these tragic incidents. It is a reminder that actions have consequences, and society will not tolerate the disregard for innocent lives caused by drunk driving.

Moving forward, Bentley's Law will apply to incidents committed on or after its enactment, offering hope to countless children who have been left behind in the wake of these preventable tragedies. The Texas legislature and Governor Abbott have taken a firm stand to protect the rights and well-being of these vulnerable children, sending a clear message that the state will not tolerate such reckless behavior.

/ Sunday, September 3, 2023, 12:41 PM /

themes:  Texas

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