The charge of driving under the influence, or DUI, carries with it criminal penalties as well as consequences on a driver’s license. While a first DUI is serious and a second is more so, it only gets worse when you have a prior conviction for reckless homicide in connection with the operation of a motor vehicle on your record.
For years, a DUI that resulted in death was charged under the Criminal Code (720 ILCS 5/9-3) as reckless homicide in the operation of a motor vehicle. The law as written assumed that if you were under the influence of alcohol and you killed someone, your conduct was reckless.
In People v. Pomykala, 203 Ill. 2d 198, 784 N.E.2d 784, 271 Ill. Dec. 230 (2003), the Illinois Supreme Court held that this presumption violated the constitution by improperly shifting the burden to the defendant of proving that he was not guilty. This was the second occasion on which the Supreme Court had ruled the statute was unconstitutional.
In response, the Illinois General Assembly created a new category of DUI offenses known as aggravated DUI. One form of aggravated DUI involves a DUI committed during which one or more people die. 625 ILCS 11-501(d)
Prosecutors in McHenry County Illinois recently charged a driver who had served 12 years in prison for reckless homicide, for which he was currently on parole, with a DUI offense. The allegation, as yet unproven, is that the driver was under the influence of prescription medication.
The DUI law has six categories of driving under the influence. The first is driving with an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. Category number two is driving under the influence (used when there is no evidence of an alcohol concentration).
A third category of DUI is driving under the influence of intoxicating compounds to an extent that it renders you incapable of driving safely. If they influence your driving, you may be charged with DUI. Examples would be sniffing glue or “huffing” gases.