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Bentley’s Law Now in Effect in Texas

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Wise County Criminal LawyerA new Texas law will now require drivers who are convicted of killing a child’s parent or guardian in a drunk driving crash to pay child support. The new law went into effect on September 1st. This new requirement is in addition to any other penalties the driver may be facing upon conviction.

The following is a brief overview of the new law and its background. For more detailed information or if you or a loved one are facing intoxicated manslaughter charges, it is important to speak with a Texas defense lawyer right away.  

What is Bentley’s Law?

The new law is called Bentley’s Law and is based on legislation started in Missouri by a woman whose son, daughter-in-law, and four-month-old grandchild were killed by a drunk driver in 2021. The woman is raising the couple’s two surviving children. Dealing with how much her family’s tragic loss impacted her grandchildren, she pushed for legislation that would require a drunk driver convicted of killing a child’s parent to begin paying child support until the child reaches 18 years of age or graduate from high school. Texas now joins Tennessee, Kentucky, and Maine in passing this law. At least 20 other states in the country have similar legislation under consideration.

In the statute enacted in Texas, any driver convicted of intoxicated manslaughter will be required to pay child support to every child the person who died had. The amount of child support will be determined by the judge who presides over their criminal trial. If a person who has been convicted receives jail time, they will be required to begin paying child support within one year of their release. Those who cannot pay will be given payment plans.

An intoxicated manslaughter charge in Texas is charged as a second-degree felony. A conviction can result in a two- to 20-year prison sentence, a fine of up to $10,000, and a minimum of 240 hours of community service.

Contact a Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested and charged with intoxicated manslaughter, you are facing serious penalties if convicted. It is critical to have an aggressive and experienced Fort Worth, TX DUI defense attorney advocating for you and ensuring your constitutional rights are protected. Call J.A. Griffin Law Firm, P.C. at 817-926-6153 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Do not delay. The sooner you call, the sooner our firm can begin working on your defense.

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