Texas already has some of the harshest drunk driving laws in the country, and now lawmakers have taken another step forward. Governor Greg Abbott recently signed a law requiring drunk drivers who cause an accident that kills a parent to pay child support until the surviving child (or children) turns 18 or graduates from high school.
The new law goes into effect on September 1, 2023.
In this article, certified criminal defense attorney Benson Varghese explains the new law, the legislative intent behind it, and how civil compensation (in addition to the criminal penalty) applies to a defendant convicted of intoxication manslaughter in the death of a parent in Texas.
Mandatory compensation for a child victim of drunken manslaughter
Starting September 1, 2023, anyone convicted of drunken manslaughter in Texas will be required to pay monthly child support if they cause an accident that results in the death of a parent with minor children. New Law – Passed in the 88th Texas Legislative Session House Bill 393 – Chapter 42 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure is amended by adding Section 42.9375 entitled: “Mandatory Compensation for a Child Victim of Poisoning.”
This statute stipulates the following:
- ol]:!pt-0 [&>ol]:!pb-0 [&>ul]:!pt-0 [&>ul]:!pb-0″ value=”1″>The defendant is not required to pay restitution to a person 19 years of age or older.
- The child’s financial needs and resources;
- The parent, surviving guardian, or other current guardian of the child or, if applicable, the financial resources of the state if the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has been appointed as temporary or permanent administrative guardian of the child;
- The standard of living to which the child is accustomed;
- The child’s physical and emotional condition and educational needs;
- Arrangements for physical and legal custody of the child;
- Reasonable work-related child care expenses for the parent, surviving guardian, or other current guardian if applicable; And
- The defendant’s financial resources.