Tennessee legislature passes drunk driving law that contains a new penalty

Tennesee’s legislature just passed a new law targeting drunk drivers.

The law, according to Fox News, would force a drunk driver to pay child support if the person kills a child’s parent. 

House Bill 1834

A summary of the bill is provided by Tennessee’s General Assembly.

The summary states:

Under this bill, if a defendant is convicted of vehicular homicide due to intoxication or aggravated vehicular homicide and the victim of the offense was the parent of a minor child, then the sentencing court must 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 from high school, or the class of which the child is a member when the child reached 18 years of age has graduated.

The bill goes on to provide guidelines for courts to determine how much child support would be paid. The bill states that, if the defendant is imprisoned, then the payments would begin within of year of being released.

The latest

On April 20, Tennessee’s Senate passed the bill by a vote of 32–0. On Feb. 28, Tennessee’s House passed the bill by a vote of 93–0.

The bill has received unanimous support.

All that is left now is for the bill to be signed into law by the governor.

The inspiration

Recently, the bill was amended so as to include the names of the children of deceased police officer Nicholas Gallinger.

In February 2019, while the 38-year-old rookie police officer was inspecting a manhole that had water flowing out of it, Gallinger was struck by the vehicle of 57-year-old Janet Hinds. The strike was fatal.

It was later determined that Hinds had been intoxicated at the time that she struck Gallinger. A jury has found Hinds guilty of vehicular homicide by intoxication.

Hinds asked for the minimum sentence of eight years imprisonment from the court arguing that she has no criminal background and that she regrets killing Gallinger. The judge ended up giving her an 11-year prison sentence saying that, although the regret may be sincere, Hinds “did intentionally drink before getting into her vehicle.”

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