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New penalties for Texas drunk driving convictions

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2023 | Firm News |

Drunk driving laws in Texas are some of the harshest in the nation. The recent passage of legislation has increased the severity while adding more punitive measures.

Additional penalties will now be imposed should the parents of children lose their lives in a motor vehicle crash involving drunk driving. The bill, “Bentley’s Law,” requires those who convicted of vehicular manslaughter must provide financial support to children under 18.

Cecilia Williams created the legislation following the death of her son, daughter-in-law, and six-month-old grandson, who died in a drunk driving accident, leaving behind two children, one named Bentley, a four-year-old who lost his parents in a DUI accident.

Serious financial consequences

Signed by Gov. Greg Abbot in June and formally categorized as intoxication manslaughter, offenders convicted of operating any motorized craft while under the influence will be required to make child support payments. Those installments will continue until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later.

The new law also accounts for those who cannot pay the restitution due to incarceration. Instead, their installments must start by the first anniversary of the day they are released.

Similar bills have been introduced in 24 other states with more likely to be added.

Driving under the influence laws are becoming more severe with every new piece of legislation. The consequences of drunk driving are starting to go beyond incarceration and driver’s license revocation. The inability to legally drive a motor vehicle can impact all aspects of anyone’s life. However, criminal charges are not an automatic path to conviction.