In Illinois, as well as nationwide, traffic deaths declined in 2009. According to statistics from the United States Department of Transportation National Highway Safety Administration, Illinois experienced a 13% decrease in traffic fatalities in 2009.
There were also fewer arrests for felony reckless homicide. In Illinois, the offense of reckless homicide can include a traffic crash in which someone is killed. Reckless homicide is a class-2 felony punishable by 3-14 years of imprisonment, although probation is an option.
At one time, Illinois law provided that a driver who is DUI and who is involved in an accident in which there is a fatality is assumed to be guilty of reckless homicide. However, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that this law was unconstitutional.
Proof of a crime requires the state to prove that the accused did A, B and C and that A, B and C taken together constitute a crime. A, B and C are known as the “elements” of the crime.
So for instance, DUI requires the state to prove that you were A) driving, B) while under the influence of C) alcohol or drugs. The state must prove the existence of each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The reckless homicide law was unconstitutional because it assumed that the accused was guilty of one of the elements, recklessness, without any proof of that element.
If you are charged with reckless homicide/DUI, you must hire a DUI lawyer not only because of the possibility of prison but also due to the driver’s license consequences of an Illinois reckless homicide conviction. You will lose your license for a minimum of two years. If you are sentenced to prison, you must wait two years after your release before you can have a driver’s license hearing to clear the driver’s license revocation.