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Proposed law adds new layer to drunk driving penalties in Texas

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Drunk Driving

In Texas, people who are convicted of drunk driving can face a litany of penalties that can severely compromise them and do substantial damage to their personal and professional lives. From jail time to fines to lost driving privileges, it is a major worry for those accused of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated.

As burdensome as the potential consequences are, it is important to keep track of proposals that might in fact worsen the penalties. Some can extend well beyond their sentence. One that is being discussed would order a convicted drunk driver who kills another person’s parent to pay child support.

This adds another reason for alleged DUI or DWI drivers to know how to craft a strong defense.

Bentley’s Law would change the landscape for drunk driving penalties in Texas

In Texas, lawmakers are considering whether to move forward with “Bentley’s Law.” This proposal would put a layer of responsibility on people who are convicted of drunk driving in which another person was killed.

If it passes, the convicted driver would be obligated to pay child support to the children of the deceased person. This is being supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The payments would start one year after the convicted drunk driver is released from prison. They would be like child support in a family law case and continue until the child reaches adulthood at 18.

This is comparable to a Missouri bill. It has bipartisan support in the Texas legislature and is moving forward. Other states are also considering this type of legislation designed to hold drunk drivers more accountable if they have a crash and another person is killed.

Alleged drunk drivers must fight the charges to try and avoid major penalties

When there is a drunk driving accident and a person is killed, the driver is likely to face intoxication manslaughter charges. This is a second-degree felony with the possibility of fines up to $10,000 and two to 20 years in prison. The driver’s license will be suspended for up to two years.