When people drive while under the influence, they never know what the results may be. They might get home perfectly safely, they may get into a minor collision or they could end up causing a crash that kills someone. Sometimes those who lose their lives leave behind children.
That’s why some state lawmakers, including those in Texas, have been working to enact laws that add financial compensation to these children to the list of consequences for those convicted of these offenses. This September, Texas enacted such a law.
Under the new law, anyone convicted of intoxication manslaughter has to pay restitution to help support the minor children of any parent or legal guardian who is killed. A conviction for this offense also carries a potential prison sentence of 20 years.
How does restitution work?
Under the law, the amount of money that an offender is ordered to pay depends on several factors involving the children and their surviving family members as well as the offender’s ability to pay. A judge will look at things like the financial, educational, physical and emotional needs of each child, their surviving family’s ability to support them and their lifestyle before losing their parent or guardian. That support is to continue until a child reaches 18 (or, in some cases, 19).
A convicted driver is responsible for support until a child reaches adulthood even if they’re not able to pay it in real time. For example, if a person is incarcerated for 10 years and has no resources to make payments during that time, they have up to a year following their release to begin paying “all arrearages regardless of whether the restitution payments were scheduled to terminate while the defendant was confined….”
With the stakes now higher than ever for an intoxication manslaughter charge, you can see why it’s crucial to work to protect your rights and work toward the best possible outcome if you’re facing this charge. Having experienced legal guidance is critical.