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What is Ethan, Hailey and Bentley’s law?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

Despite stringent policies against drunk driving, it remains a big problem in the United States. As times change, policymakers implement new laws to enforce appropriate penalties on drunk drivers, especially those involved in severe incidents resulting in death.

One of the recent policies that took effect in Tennessee is Ethan, Hailey and Bentley’s law. The policy’s name refers to the children left without parents because of driving under the influence (DUI) accidents.

This law allows the court to include additional penalties for convicted DUI drivers. According to this policy, a judge can order the convicted to pay restitution or child support to surviving children of one or more parents killed in drunk driving accidents.

The convicted must fulfill child support obligations until each child becomes 18 years old and finishes high school. The court would determine the amount based on the following factors:

  • The surviving child’s financial needs
  • The surviving parent’s or guardian’s financial resources
  • Accustomed lifestyle up until the fatal DUI crash
  • Physical, emotional and educational requirements
  • Child custody arrangements
  • Other expenses, such as child care

If incarcerated, the convicted must start paying child support no more than one year after their release.

Other factors affecting the child support amount

The court could implement the law on a case-to-case basis. Additionally, details of the payment arrangements may vary, depending on the situation.

Sometimes, the surviving parent might file a civil action requesting child maintenance payments. In this scenario, the law might not take effect if the court granted the civil action.

However, if the court orders restitution under Ethan, Hailey and Bentley’s law followed by a civil action made by the surviving parent, the judge would adjust the total amount considering the civil judgment if awarded.