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Texas Passes Law Allowing Courts to Order Child Support in Fatal DUI Cases

Many states are moving to impose harsher penalties against those who cause fatal drunk driving collisions, especially when the victim was a parent to a minor child. Texas recently joined Tennessee in enacting a law allowing courts to order child support payments to children who lost a parent in these preventable tragedies. Legislators hope measures like these will deter drunk driving by increasing potential penalties. Critics argue there are already strong deterrents in place through fines, jail time, and license suspension. While similar legislation was previously introduced in Illinois, it did not pass. If you are accused of causing a fatal DUI crash, it is smart to speak to an Illinois DUI defense attorney about your possible defenses.

Tough New DUI Penalties in Texas

It is reported a new Texas law recently went into effect that will require those found guilty of intoxication manslaughter to pay child support to any minor children of the victim. Under House Bill 393, courts must order monthly child support payments to children under 19 years old who suffered the loss of a guardian or parent due to the defendant’s actions.

Allegedly, the court will determine a reasonable payment amount based on factors like the child’s financial, physical, and emotional needs, the standard of living the child is accustomed to enjoying, and the convicted person’s resources. Defendants must begin making payments after release if imprisoned at the time of conviction. Proponents argue this law provides crucial financial stability for families devastated by drunk driving deaths. The law underscores efforts to impose harsher penalties on drunk drivers who take lives. It went into effect as Texas aims to curb holiday weekend DUIs, with over 300 related crashes and 20 deaths last Labor Day.

Illinois’ Debate Over Increased DUI Penalties

The Texas law reflects a nationwide debate over imposing stricter drunk driving penalties, especially when accidents result in loss of life. Illinois considered a similar child support proposal in 2022, though it ultimately failed to pass. However, those convicted of aggravated DUIs resulting in death face 3-14 years in prison if one person died, and 6-28 years if two or more died. They may also face fines of up to $25,000.

Supporters argue tougher criminal and civil penalties will deter drunk driving and better match punishments to the enormous gravity of taking a life through irresponsible behavior. But opponents note some penalties, like lifetime license suspension, can overly burden offenders trying to rebuild their lives and support their families after serving their time.

Consult an Experienced Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

As penalties for drunk driving offenses increase, those facing DUI charges need experienced legal counsel now more than ever. If you are charged with a DUI it is smart to speak to an attorney about your rights.  Theodore J. Harvatin of Harvatin Law Offices, PC has is well versed in what it takes to prevail in DUI cases in the Ilinois courts, and if you hire him, he will advocate zealously on your behalf. To contact Mr. Harvatin to explore your defense options,  you can use our online form or call us at 217-525-0520. ]

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