If the state Senate passes HB 1834, Tennessee drunk drivers will have to spend more than just jail time. Intoxicated drivers convicted of killing people will also have to pay child support to their victim’s orphaned minors.
Tennessee Senate Passes HB 1834 To Penalize Drunk Drivers
The Tennessee Senate passed HB 1834 last Wednesday. This measure will force drunk drivers to pay child support to their victim’s orphaned minors.
The state Senate passed the measure unanimously. HB 1834 already secured state House approval. However, it has yet to secure the signature of Governor Bill Lee
Prior to its passage, HB 1834 received a name change. State senators voted to amend the bill’s name to include police officer Nicholas Galinger’s orphaned children.
Gallinger died when a drunk driver hit him while he was on duty. Henceforth, the bill is now known as “Ethan’s, Hailey’s and Bentley’s Law”.
Drunks Driver To Pay Child Support To Any Minors Left Orphaned By Their Crime
“Ethan’s, Hailey’s and Bentley’s Law” aims to penalize drunk drivers by forcing them to pay child support to their victim’s minor children.
It focuses on individuals found guilty of “vehicular homicide due to intoxication” or “aggravated vehicular homicide”. If the victims have minor children, the courts will subject them to additional penalties. Specifically, the courts will collect “restitution in the form of child maintenance” for each child.
The payments will continue for each child until they turn 18 and graduate from high school.
Alternatively, the restitution can end once the class where the child belongs graduates from high school. The court shall determine how much restitution the defendant will pay each child.
It will take into account each child’s financial needs weighed against resources. It will also consider the state’s current standard of living that befits the child.
Galinger Killed By Drunk Driver
The bill was an offshoot of the death of Officer Nicholas Galinger. The 38-year-old rookie died on duty when he was struck by a car while he was inspecting a manhole cover.
The drunk driver, Hanet Hinds, received a guilty verdict of vehicular homicide by intoxication. She received a sentence of 11 years in prison.
Prior to issuing the sentence, Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole said he believed Hinds when she expressed her regret.
However, even despite not having any intentions to kill anybody, Hinds did intentionally drink alcohol before going behind the wheel.
Records show that Hinds already had multiple arrests for driving under the influence. Consequently, prosecutors requested the court to apply the maximum 15-year sentence.
However, Hinds’ lawyer requested consideration of the minimum sentence of eight years.
Hinds: ‘This Apology May Be Inadequate’
Unfortunately, Hinds didn’t even know she hit a person that night. Otherwise, she would have remained at the scene of the crime.
She apologized to her family and the Galinger family when she spoke before listening to her sentence. “I know this apology may be inadequate for the Galinger family. Nothing besides God will lessen the hurt that you feel, that I feel.”
Watch the WREG Channel 3 News video reporting that the new TN bill forces drunk drivers to pay child support to victim’s children if they kill a parent:
What do you think of the Tennessee Senate’s bill requiring drunk drivers to pay child support for any children left by their victims? Will this help deter drivers from taking the wheel when intoxicated?
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