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New Texas law forces drunk drivers to pay child support if a parent or guardian of a minor is killed

The amount to be paid by the offender will be imposed by the court based on various factors of the child's living conditions.

Alcohol / Cordon Press.

Alcohol / Cordon Press.

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A new Texas law will force drunk drivers to pay child support if they kill a parent or guardian of a minor in a car accident.

Starting Friday, bipartisan legislation went into effect requiring anyone convicted of drunken homicide to pay child support if the victim had a child.

According to the so-called “Bentley’s Law,” involuntary manslaughter by intoxication is that which occurs when a person who operates “a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride; and is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.”

The legislation explains that the offender must make payments until the child reaches the age of majority or until they graduate from high school, “whichever is later.” If the driver cannot meet payments because they are incarcerated, the individual is expected to meet the requirements no later than “the first anniversary of the date” of their release. The punishment for this crime in Texas can be up to two decades in prison.

The law also states that the court will determine the amount the driver must pay. This will be decided based on the child’s financial needs and resources, the resources of the representatives who survived the accident, and the standard of living to which the child is accustomed, among other factors.

Greg Abbott “proud” to sign the project

Texas Governor Greg Abbott celebrated the state passing this legislation and signing it into law.

“Any time a parent passes is tragic, but a death at the hands of a drunk driver is especially heinous. I was proud to sign HB 393 into law this year to require offenders to pay child support for the children of their victims,” he said.