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Tennessee's Bentley's Law Signed into Tennessee Law

May 02, 2022

Tennessee's DUI Manslaughter Law, Bentley's Law, Requires Offenders to Pay Child Support Payments to Victims' Children

TENNESSEE - According to an online news report posted on, Tennessee lawmakers have decided to crack down on drunk drivers who cause fatal car accidents.

The new Tennessee DUI law will soon require drivers who have been convicted of DUI and who killed a parent as a result of drinking and driving to pay child support to the victim's children.

A Clarkesville man stated that he wouldn't forget the night that he was told his cousin was tragically killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver. His cousin was returning home after work when a highly intoxicated driver struck his cousin's car. Accident investigators stated that the former lieutenant was rear-ended while waiting for a red light to turn green. The offender already had three DUI convictions prior to the fatal rear-end collision. The police lieutenant tragically left behind his two children and his wife. 

Tragic, fatal DUI collisions like this case are what fueled Tennessee lawmakers to draft and pass Bentley's Law. The law overwhelmingly passed in the Tennessee General Assembly. Bentley's Law mandates impaired drivers who are convicted of vehicular homicide to pay restitution to the victim's children in the form of child support. The payments would be required until the victim's children reach 18 years of age or they graduate high school. Should the drunk driver be incarcerated and therefore cannot make the child support payments, the offender would have no longer than one year, after their release from prison, to start making the child support payments to the victim's children. 

Cecilia Williams thought up Bentley's Law after she lost her son, grandson, and her son's fiancé in a terrible DUI related crash last year. Williams has been advocating for harsher laws against drunk drivers. She intends on fighting for the law to be passed in all 50 states. There are several states considering the measure. Those states include Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.