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Springfield man sentenced to prison for Mercer County DUI fatality

If you are reading this, you likely know that Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is illegal. It can lead to criminal penalties, such as jail, probation, fines, alcohol classes, community service and MADD programs. 625 ILCS 5/11-500; 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-55
It can result in a driver’s license suspension if the police ask you to take a breath test and you refuse, or if you take a breath test and register at least .08, the legal limit in Illinois. This suspension still stands if you receive court supervision, a reduced charge such as reckless driving and even if the DUI charge is dismissed (dropped).

A suspension, however, ends automatically when the time for it to run has ended. 625 ILCS 5/1-204. The suspension would be for as few as 6, and as many as 36, months, depending upon your overall driving record.

If you have not had a DUI in the previous 5 years, you are considered a “first offender” for the purpose of determining the length of your suspension, even if this is not your first DUI arrest. 625 ILCS 5/11-500 If you are a first offender who submits to the breath test and you register at least .08, you will be suspended for 6 months; upon a refusal, you will temporarily lose your license for 12 months. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1
As a non first offender, you would be suspended for 12 months if you took a test and registered above the legal limit and 36 months if you refused. A non first offender cannot request any driving relief, not even a restricted driving permit (RDP) from the Illinois Secretary of State. 625 ILCS 5/6-208.1 (g)

If you are eventually convicted of the DUI charge, your driver’s license will be revoked. That means that in order to have driving privileges restored, you must have a driver’s license hearing before the Illinois Secretary of State. 625 ILCS 5/2-118 You will be revoked for 1 year if this is your first conviction, 5 years for a second conviction within 20 years of the first one and 10 years for a third conviction, regardless of the time period. 625 ILCS 5/6-208
A first offender is eligible for an MDDP while the suspension is in effect. The MDDP allows you to drive anywhere, at any time, for any reason, provided you are willing to install an interlock device (BAIID) on your vehicle. Driving without an MDDP is a felony. 625 ILCS 5/6-303(c-3)

A DUI conviction results in cancellation of the MDDP, a revocation of your driver’s license and the need for a Secretary of State hearing. This is a one -year waiting period for anyone with 2 or 3 DUI convictions before you can apply for an RDP. 625 ILCS 5/6-205(c)(6) If you receive an RDP, it will remain in effect until the revocation period ends. You will be required to renew the RDP on an annual basis.

A man from Springfield who recently involved in a crash in Mercer County (Aledo) that resulted in the death of someone else. Consequently, he was charged with aggravated DUI.

It appears that the basis of the DUI charge was the presence of a number of substances in his body. The evidence showed that most of these substances were prescribed medications and there was no specific evidence that his driving was impaired.

Blood tests revealed marijuana in his system however. In 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court held in the case of People v. Martin, 2011 IL 109102, that as soon as there is evidence of marijuana in a person’s blood, breath or urine, he is guilty of a felony if someone dies in a crash, even if there is no evidence that the marijuana impaired his driving. This is particularly harsh given that marijuana will stay in your system for days or even weeks after smoking it. The Springfield man was sent to prison for 6 years.

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