In a significant stride towards increasing accountability and strengthening penalties for intoxicated drivers, the State of Texas has recently introduced a new law that has caught the attention of legal experts and concerned citizens alike. This groundbreaking legislation, embodied in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42.0375, has far-reaching implications for individuals convicted of intoxicated manslaughter, particularly in cases where their actions result in the tragic loss of a parent with dependent children. It makes drunk drivers pay child support when they kill someone and a child is left behind.
The Impetus for Change
Drunk driving has long been a public safety concern, and its consequences extend beyond the immediate victims. The new law addresses a glaring gap in accountability by ensuring that those responsible for intoxicated manslaughter not only face criminal penalties but also fulfill their financial obligations towards the children left behind.
The Mandate: Child Support for Convicted Offenders
Under the provisions of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42.0375, individuals convicted of intoxicated manslaughter are now compelled to provide child support for the children of the deceased until they reach the age of 18. This legal requirement underscores the gravity of the situation and seeks to alleviate the potential financial burdens faced by families who have lost a parent due to the actions of an intoxicated driver. It applies even where is another surviving parent.
No Exemptions, No Escape
Even if a convicted driver is incarcerated at the time of the conviction, the obligation to pay child support remains steadfast. Upon release from incarceration, the individual is expected to begin making monthly payments to support the children affected by their actions. If the child has already turned 18, or if back payments are owed due to the driver’s incarceration, arrangements must be made to fulfill these obligations.
Strengthening Penalties and Promoting Responsibility
The introduction of this law serves as a crucial step in holding intoxicated drivers accountable for their actions and promoting a sense of responsibility toward the broader implications of their behavior. By mandating that financial support be provided to the families affected, the State of Texas aims to lessen the emotional and economic impact on the family members left behind. Under current law, Texas personal injury lawyers are often limited by the amount of insurance coverage (if any) that is available in these cases. Furthermore, a civil personal injury judgment has collection limitations that a child support lien does not. Child support liens cannot be discharged in bankruptcy and wages can be garnished directly from the offender’s employer to pay the lien.
Walk Like Mad: A Commitment to Change
Recognizing the importance of community engagement in curbing drunk driving incidents is why Simmons and Fletcher, P.C, is a presenting sponsor for the fourth year of the Harris Montgomery County Walk Like MADD fundraising event. Scheduled for September 23rd, 2023, at 9:00 AM at the Champions Forest Baptist Church in Jersey Village, this event stands as a united front against drunk driving. Attendees can expect informative sessions, educational resources, and the opportunity to contribute to a safer community.
As the legal landscape evolves to reflect the changing dynamics of our society, the introduction of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42.0375 represents a monumental step towards ensuring that intoxicated drivers are held accountable for their actions, not only in terms of criminal consequences but also through financial support to the families affected. This law underscores the commitment of the State of Texas to safeguard its citizens and promote responsible behavior. Join us in the fight against drunk driving by participating in events like Walk Like Mad and contributing to a safer future for our communities.