Drunk drivers in Texas responsible for a parent or guardian’s death to bear child support burden

Texas House Bill 393, a new law aimed at combating drunk driving in the state, went into effect on September 1. The implementation of this bill signifies a bold step towards ensuring that intoxicated drivers face severe consequences for their actions.

Law enforcement authorities, such as Sgt. Erick Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety, fully support the new legislation. Sgt. Estrada emphasizes the importance of removing drunk drivers from the roads before they cause harm to themselves or others. He recognizes the devastating impact of DUI-related traffic crashes in Texas, where in 2022 alone, 1,203 people lost their lives. This alarming statistic translates to one innocent life being taken every seven hours and 17 minutes.

House Bill 393 is a significant development in the fight against drunk driving. Under this law, convicted drunk drivers who cause the death of a child’s parent or guardian are required to pay child support. This financial obligation will continue until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, depending on which milestone occurs later.

In addition to the financial burden, drunk drivers arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can face severe penalties. These penalties include fines and fees amounting to up to $17,000, imprisonment, and the revocation of their driver’s license. The law enforcement authorities are determined to crack down on individuals who choose to drink and drive, ensuring that they face the full weight of the law.

The court will determine the amount of child support restitution based on the child’s needs. The aim is to provide ongoing assistance and financial stability to children who have lost a parent or guardian due to drunk driving.

Sgt. Estrada emphatically stresses that drunk driving is entirely preventable. He urges individuals under the influence to refrain from operating a motor vehicle and encourages alternative transportation options such as taxis, ride-sharing services, and public transportation.

Furthermore, House Bill 393 ensures that even if the convicted drunk driver is incarcerated and unable to make child support payments, they are expected to commence payments no later than the first anniversary of their release.

The passing of House Bill 393 exemplifies the commitment of Texas lawmakers and law enforcement authorities to combat drunk driving and prioritize the safety of its residents. By implementing stricter consequences and encouraging responsible behavior, they aim to reduce the tragic loss of life caused by intoxicated drivers on Texas roads.

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