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The consequences of killing someone while driving impaired

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2024 | Criminal Defense

There’s no question that the U.S. has a serious problem of drunk and drugged drivers injuring and killing people on its roads. As a result, some states are working on increasing the penalties for those whose impaired driving kills others.

For example, last year, Kentucky enacted two new laws. One of them makes vehicular homicide a Class B felony. This can result in a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The other law lets judges order anyone convicted of causing a crash while under the influence “that results in the death or permanent disability” of a parent or guardian of a child to pay restitution to help support and care for that child. The payments are required until the child turns 18 (19 if they’re still in high school).

What you should know about restitution payments

A judge can consider “all relevant factors” as they determine how much someone is required to pay. These include:

  • The financial resources of those caring for them
  • The child’s standard of living before their parent was killed or disabled
  • The cost of caring for the child (including their physical, emotional and educational needs

If a person is serving time in prison, they likely can’t begin paying immediately. However, they’re responsible for paying what they would have paid had they not been in prison, starting no later than a year of their release. For example, if a child is 10 when the crash occurred and they’re 25 when the driver is released from prison, that driver is still responsible for paying the approximately eight years of restitution due. The payments are made through the court to ensure that they’re made as required.

These are very tough consequences for anyone to face. If you’re in the U.S. on a visa, a conviction of this kind can also harm your ability to renew it, even if it’s not grounds for deportation. Whether you’re a U.S. citizen or not, its crucial to have experienced legal guidance to help protect your rights and make your case if you’ve been accused of impaired driving and of causing another harm as a result.