Kentucky has gotten tougher this year on those convicted of killing someone through drunk or drugged driving. Gov. Andy Beshear has signed two new laws. One of them makes this offense a Class B felony called vehicular homicide.
The second law is modeled on laws recently enacted in other states that hold impaired drivers who kill or seriously injure a parent or guardian of a minor child financially responsible (at least in part) for their care. Specifically, the new Kentucky law lets judges order a person who is convicted of causing “death or disability” to a parent or guardian due to drunk/drugged driving to pay restitution to the surviving parent or designated legal guardian. That order would be part of their sentencing.
How is restitution determined?
The judge in the case is authorized to determine the amount of the restitution. However, they’re required to base that restitution on a number of factors, including the following:
- The child’s financial needs and resources
- The parent or guardian’s financial needs and resources
- The child’s prior standard of living
- The child’s emotional and physical condition
This support is required until the child turns 18 or 19, depending on whether they’re still in high school when they turn 18.
What if someone is incarcerated and can’t pay?
The person ordered to pay restitution can have up to a year after their release from prison to begin making payments. According to the law, they’re required to pay anything they owed during the time they were incarcerated. Therefore, even if a child is an adult by the time the driver is released, that doesn’t relieve them from having to pay the ordered restitution.
With the stakes this high, it’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance if you’re facing a vehicular homicide or any DUI-related charge. This can help you protect your rights and make decisions that could affect the rest of your life.