In Illinois, the punishment imposed for a DUI conviction depends, in part, on whether the defendant caused any other person to suffer bodily harm. For example, a defendant involved in a fatal DUI crash will most likely be charged with aggravated DUI, which carries a mandatory penalty of three years in prison for each person killed. As demonstrated in a recent Illinois case, the courts do not take kindly to DUI defendants attempting to avoid a guilty verdict with novel legal theories and are apt to impose significant penalties. As such, if you are charged with aggravated DUI, it is critical that you retain an Illinois DUI defense lawyer with the skills and resources needed to help you seek the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case.
The Fatal Collision and Subsequent Conviction
Reportedly, a South Peoria man was convicted of aggravated DUI, reckless homicide, and aggravated street racing after a crash that killed two people and seriously injured another. The defendant attempted to argue that a past appellate court case provided him with some leeway, but the judge rejected his assertion, stating that the case in question was not applicable. The defendant also claimed that the victims’ car crossed in front of him during the incident, but the judge dismissed this argument as well.
It is alleged that the defendant was found guilty of having numerous narcotics and illicit drugs in his system at the time of the accident. During the sentencing hearing, the defendant expressed remorse, but the judge criticized him for his arrogance and lack of accountability. The judge sentenced the defendant to 31 years in prison, with the possibility of release in approximately 22 years. He plans to appeal the decision.
Penalties for Fatal DUI Accidents in Illinois
While the court declined to adopt the defendant’s reasoning, even if it had been sympathetic to his position, it nonetheless would have to abide by the statutory mandatory minimum sentence for DUI-related fatalities. Specifically, if an intoxicated person causes a fatal car accident in Illinois, they can be charged with aggravated DUI, a Class 2 felony.
The mandatory minimum sentence for an aggravated DUI resulting in the death of one person is three years, with a maximum sentence of fourteen years. If an accident caused the death of two or more people, the mandatory sentence increases to six years, with a maximum of twenty-eight years. Probation is possible in exceptional circumstances.
Meet with a Knowledgeable Illinois DUI Defense Attorney
Aggravated DUI charges carry significant penalties, but there are often defenses a person accused of causing a fatal DUI accident can assert to avoid a conviction. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer with ample experience defending people charged with DUI crimes, and if you hire him, he will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can reach Mr. Harvatin by calling 217.525.0520 or using the online form to set up a conference.