Bentley’s Law States Make Drunk Drivers Pay Child Support

    Posted on Saturday, January 20th, 2024 at 9:00 am    

    Inside of a car with driver holding open alcohol container. Bentley’s Law States Make Drunk Drivers Pay Child Support superimposed over image.

    Bentley’s Law is an initiative that may affect the financial responsibilities of drunk drivers whose actions result in deaths. Bentley’s Law currently isn’t on the books in Georgia, but that could change.

    What Is Bentley’s Law?

    Bentley’s law requires drunk drivers responsible for car wrecks that result in the deaths of parents to pay child support to the surviving children. The law may ensure that surviving children receive the financial support they need after losing their parents. According to Williams, the law may also ensure drunk drivers who cause deaths never forget the pain they caused.

    Cecilia Williams has led the Bentley’s Law initiative, which began in Missouri. She named the initiative after her grandson. On April 13, 2021, Bentley Williams lost both his parents and a brother in a car wreck caused by an impaired driver.

    If you have been injured by a drunk driver in Georgia, or lost a family member, you may have a claim. Contact us online or call (770) 205-8827 to enlist a Georgia DUI accident lawyer on your behalf. We deliver results for clients and work on a contingency fee basis so you don’t pay unless you are awarded damages.

    What States Are Considering Bentley’s Law?

    As of this writing, only four states have passed versions of Bentley’s Law. Current Bentley’s Law states are:

    • Kentucky
    • Maine
    • Tennessee
    • Texas

    However, many other states are considering passing versions of Bentley’s Law. Currently, they are:

    • Arizona
    • Florida
    • Hawaii
    • Iowa
    • Indiana
    • Missouri
    • New Jersey
    • South Carolina
    • South Dakota
    • Washington
    • West Virginia
    • Wisconsin

    Georgia is absent from the list. That said, the Bentleys Law initiative has gained fast momentum in recent years. Although lawmakers may not have introduced a Bentley’s Law proposal in Georgia yet, that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.

    How Would Bentley’s Law Work?

    It’s impossible to say exactly how Bentley’s Law would function in Georgia. With no proposal yet introduced, there is no way to tell how the legislation in Georgia would differ from that of other states.

    The following basic framework explains the essentials of how the law may function. Georgia’s eventual law, if one ever passes, may look something like this:

    • A person receives a conviction for driving under the influence. Right now, a criminal conviction is a requirement for Bentley’s Law to apply to a case. Naturally, Bentley’s Law only applies in cases resulting in the death of parents. However, some states have proposed versions of the law that might also apply to grandparents.
    • A court would determine the amount of child support a convicted person needs to pay. They would make payments to the spouse or guardian left to raise the surviving children after a wreck. Except in unique circumstances, these child support payments would typically end when a child turns 18.

    Someone may be unable to make these payments while they’re incarcerated. Under the current model legislation, they would have one year from the time of their release to begin making payments.

    Bentley’s Law Complications

    Law books, gavel, scales of justice on a wood table, exemplifying Bentley’s Law that makes drivers pay child support.

    Bentley’s Law isn’t without its detractors. Although some understand the intent of the law is good, they also point to flaws. For example, in Tennessee, a state where Bentley’s Law is technically on the books, lawyers, courts, and other such parties still face confusion about how the law works.

    What Are the Alternatives If Someone Cannot Pay?

    Many drunk drivers are unable to pay the child support a court order might require. It often remains unclear what types of alternative penalties they might face.

    In addition, some states prevent victims from recovering compensation for the same accidents twice. This could complicate the application of Bentley’s Law. There are still questions regarding whether someone can receive money from both an insurance policy and from a drunk driver.

    However, proponents of the law hope that it may reduce drunk driving accident rates. For example, Rep. Selina Bliss of Arizona states that the law would tie greater long-term consequences to drunk driving. This could deter motorists from getting behind the wheel when intoxicated.

    Contact a Georgia Drunk Driving Accident Injury Lawyer

    Bentley’s Law may not be a Georgia law yet, but it could be in the future. Regardless, Georgia residents can still seek compensation for injuries after drunk driving wrecks by filing insurance claims and lawsuits. The surviving loved ones of those who die in drunk driving accidents can also seek compensation by filing wrongful death claims.

    Have you been hurt or lost loved ones in a drunk-driving wreck? If so, a Georgia drunk driving accident injury lawyer at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. can help you navigate your legal options. Get started today by contacting us online or calling us at (770) 205-8827 for a free case review by our legal team.

    Related Posts:
    Teenagers Drinking and Driving Statistics in Georgia
    Seeking Compensation in a Georgia Personal Injury Claim
    What Is Wrongful Death?
    What Time Do Most Drunk Driving Accidents Occur in Georgia?

    Request A Consultation

    CALL US AT (770) 205-8827 OR USE THE FORM BELOW