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Twin Sister Tries to Take the Fall for Fatal DUI Crash in Minnesota

In most states, it is unlawful for a person to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance. While DUI arrests typically follow an officer stopping a person for suspicion of intoxication or a traffic offense, in some instances, the DUI suspect will no longer be in the vehicle when the police arrive on the scene. In such instances, the police will have to rely on circumstantial evidence to determine if an arrest is warranted, which can be complicated if one person states they were driving to cover up a crime. This was demonstrated recently in Minnesota when twin sisters allegedly set out to deceive police following a fatal DUI crash. If you are accused of a DUI offense, you should meet with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to discuss your potential defenses.

The Minnesota Incident

It is reported that following a tragic collision between a vehicle and a horse-drawn buggy in Spring Valley, Minnesota, that killed an Amish woman and two children, law enforcement launched a thorough investigation into the incident. Suspicions first arose when inconsistencies emerged in the confession of a woman who said she was the driver of the vehicle; eyewitness testimonies cast further doubt on her claim.

It is alleged that dashcam footage revealed two blond women at the crash site, suggesting the presence of both the purported driver and her twin sister. Furthermore, a recording from a digital device left in a deputy’s truck captured incriminating dialogue between the sisters, hinting at their involvement in a deceptive scheme. Subsequent analysis of the sister’s cellphone provided damning evidence, including her location at the scene of the crash and internet searches related to the aftermath of the collision.

Reportedly, these findings formed the basis for the charges filed against the twins: vehicular manslaughter under the influence and fleeing the scene, and falsely taking responsibility for the deaths.

Illinois Law Regarding Circumstantial Evidence in DUI Cases

In Illinois, like in many jurisdictions, if the prosecution lacks direct evidence of the defendant’s operation of the vehicle while intoxicated, it can establish guilt for a DUI charge using circumstantial evidence.

One way the prosecution can establish DUI through circumstantial evidence is by presenting evidence of the defendant’s conduct and behavior before and after the alleged offense. This may include observations by law enforcement officers or witnesses regarding the defendant’s physical appearance, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or an unsteady gait, all of which are common signs of intoxication. Additionally, the prosecution may introduce evidence of erratic driving behavior, such as swerving, speeding, or failure to obey traffic signals, which can suggest impairment.

Furthermore, the prosecution may rely on the results of field sobriety tests administered by law enforcement officers at the scene. While these tests are not always conclusive, they can provide circumstantial evidence of impairment if the defendant exhibits signs of intoxication during the tests, such as an inability to maintain balance or follow instructions.

Chemical tests, such as breathalyzers or blood tests, are another crucial piece of circumstantial evidence in DUI cases. Although these tests directly measure the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), they indirectly establish impairment at the time of driving. Even if the defendant refuses to submit to chemical testing, evidence of refusal can be used against them in court and may imply consciousness of guilt.

Consult an Experienced Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

While the prosecution can rely on circumstantial evidence to prove a defendant committed a DUI crime, they nonetheless must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are faced with DUI charges, it is wise to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is an experienced DUI defense lawyer who can advise you of your rights and help you to seek a good outcome. You can reach Mr. Harvatin by calling 217.525.0520 or using the online form to arrange a conference.

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