The circumstances surrounding some DUI accidents are so tragic that it seems axiomatic that the person who allegedly drove while intoxicated will be convicted of numerous crimes. People are not convicted via the court of public opinion, however, and the State must meet a high burden of proof in order to obtain a guilty verdict. For example, reports indicate that a New York man drove while intoxicated, killing a woman who was walking home, but the state must nonetheless establish the man’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are accused of causing a fatal DUI collision, it is essential to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer about your potential defenses as soon as possible.
The Fatal Accident
It is reported that a young New York woman suffered fatal injuries after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver. In an unexpected turn of events, the person suspected of hitting her is a coworker she had been drinking with her earlier in the night. The woman refused to ride with the coworker and chose to walk home instead. The driver reportedly hit her with his car and continued driving before being involved in another crash shortly after. His car caught fire, and he was pulled out before police arrived.
It is alleged that the woman’s body was discovered over six hours later, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. The state charged the driver with multiple felonies, including vehicular manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He entered a not-guilty plea.
Establishing Guilt Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
In Illinois, similar to New York, a DUI defendant cannot be convicted unless the state proves all elements of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard of beyond a reasonable doubt does not have a precise definition but is generally understood as requiring the evidence to strongly indicate the defendant’s guilt to the extent that a reasonable person could only conclude that the defendant committed the offense.
Consequently, if a defendant can show that the prosecution cannot meet its burden of proof for one or more elements of the crime, they should not be convicted. This standard ensures that defendants are not wrongly convicted based on insufficient evidence. DUI defendants, on the other hand, do not have to offer any evidence in their favor at trial or otherwise assert a defense. In many cases, it benefits them to do so, however.
Talk to a Dedicated Illinois DUI Defense Attorney
People charged with committing DUI offenses may be apprehensive about their chances of winning at trial, but the state must meet a high burden of proof to obtain a conviction. If you are accused of committing a DUI crime, you should talk to an attorney about your rights. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a dedicated DUI defense lawyer who is well-versed in what it takes to prevail in criminal trials, and if you hire him, he will fight to help you seek a just outcome. You can contact Mr. Harvatin by calling 217.525.0520 or using the online form to set up a meeting.