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Father charged in Springfield due to daughter’s DUI death

The Sangamon County State’s Attorney in Springfield Illinois charged a man with felony Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The charges stem from the death of the man’s seven-year-old daughter following a crash in a country road near Springfield.

The driver, with his daughter properly placed in a child restraint seat, drove off the roadway, down an embankment and across a creek bed, then crashed into a ditch. The front of the vehicle suffered extensive damage. The allegation is that the driver committed a violation of the Illinois DUI law 625 ILCS 5/11-501
Court records show that the driver had two previous Springfield DUI arrests. The first charge resulted in the driver being sentenced to court supervision. Court supervision prevented a conviction which would have been entered in accordance with 625 ILCS 5/6-205(a)(2) and created the need for a driver’s license hearing.

The second DUI charge was dismissed, a case that demonstrates there are two elements to a DUI charge. The first element is being under the influence.

In addition, to prove DUI, the police must show that you were in actual, physical control of the vehicle while under the influence. However, they are not required to show that you were actually driving, but merely that you either had been driving or were about to drive. Consequently, you can be guilty of DUI even if you are pulled over and “sleeping it off”. People v. Davis, 205 Ill. App. 3d 431, 150 Ill. Dec. 349, 562 N.E.2d 1152 (1 Dist. 1990)

At the time of the most recent offense, the driver had only one previous DUI violation, the first case that resulted in court supervision. Ordinarily, a second DUI violation is not a felony.

However, there are certain situations in which a DUI, even a first one, becomes aggravated DUI. Aggravated DUI charges in Illinois are set forth in the Illinois Vehicle Code, Section 11-501(d) One of those aggravating factors exists when the driver, “in committing a violation of [the DUI law], was involved in a motor vehicle … accident that resulted in the death of another person, when the violation of [the DUI law] was a proximate cause of the death” 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(1)(F)

Aggravated DUI is typically a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison. However, if someone is killed, the prison sentence is 3 to14 years, unless the court finds that “extraordinary circumstances exist and require probation”. 625 ILCS 5/11-501(d)(2)(G)

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