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Kill A Parent While Driving Drunk in Tennessee? Prepare to Pay Child Support

If you drive drunk in Tennessee and kill someone, and that someone has a child or children under the age of 18, you may end up paying child support.

That is if Tennessee governor Bill Lee signs House Bill 1834 into law. It has already passed the state’s House and Senate.

The bill states that it: “Requires a sentencing court, in convictions of vehicular homicide and aggravated vehicular homicide and when the deceased victim was the parent of a minor child, to order the defendant to pay restitution in the form of child maintenance to each of the victim’s children until each child reaches 18 years of age and has graduated high school.”

The state will use things such as the standard of living the child was accustomed to, financial needs, and the resources of the child/children and any parent or guardian who survives the crash.

Additionally, a surviving parent or guardian can still file civil suit or get a judgment against the offender, if the driver is convicted. Any child-support payment granted as part of the case would supersede any existing child-support arrangements.

Convicted offenders will need to begin making payments immediately, and if they cannot because they’re in jail or prison, they have until one year passes post-release. If the payments aren’t all made when the child or children turn 18, they will continue until complete.

Cecilia Williams, whose son, daughter-in-law, and grandson were killed by a drunk driver in April of 2021, is the driver behind the law.

“They will always remember, this is what I did to the family, you know, and it will sink into them. I can’t do this again. You know, I’m supporting children that aren’t mine,” she said to 9 News ABC.

At first, the bill was slated to be named after Cecilia’s oldest still-living grandson, but the names of two other children who lost a parent to drunk driving have been added, changing it to “Ethan’s, Hailey’s, and Bentley’s Law.”

Yet another reason to NOT get behind the wheel after getting sloshed.

[Image: Paul Biryukov/Shutterstock.com]

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