DUI charges can lead to injury, death, and vehicular homicide or other serious charges. A Chicago man made headlines this week after a DuPage County judge sentenced him to ten years in prison for a February, 2012, drunk driving accident. 34-year-old Daniel Clark pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI charges for the incident that killed 42-year-old Frank Caruso of Brookfield.
Caruso had been involved in an earlier car accident on the evening of February 11, 2012, when Trooper Matthew Woodiel responded to the scene. Trooper Woodiel stopped his vehicle on Interstate 290, and invited Mr. Caruso into the car to talk, due to the cold winter temperatures. As Trooper Woodiel and Mr. Caruso chatted, Mr. Clark slammed into the squad car, killing Mr. Caruso and injuring Trooper Woodiel. Trooper Woodiel’s vehicle had its emergency lights activated when the accident occurred, and Mr. Caruso’s car had been blocking off two lanes of traffic.
Mr. Clark’s blood-alcohol content was determined to be .19 percent at the time of the accident. He had been driving home from a bar located in Itasca at about 70 miles per hour when he crashed into Trooper Woodiel’s car.
625 ILCS 5/11-501 is the part of the Illinois Compiled Statutes that deal with DUI. Under the statute, a person is guilty of aggravated DUI when he or she operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other substances and there are aggravating factors. Some of the many aggravating factors under the code include:
- The offender has a previous DUI conviction;
- The offender was operating a school bus with children or teens under the age of 18 on board;
- The offender caused an accident that caused great bodily harm or permanent disability to another person;
- The offender was driving drunk in a school speed zone of under 20 miles per hour and caused injury or disability to another person; and
- The offender was operating a motor vehicle, snowmobile, ATV, or watercraft and caused death of another person.
In addition to the circumstances described above, there are numerous other factors that may lead to an aggravated DUI charge.
A first aggravated DUI offense is a Class 4 felony, a third violation of the statute is a Class 2 felony, and a fourth violation of the statute is a Class 2 felony for which probation or conditional discharge may not be imposed by the court. A fifth violation of the statute is a Class 1 felony and a sixth violation is a Class X felony. Accordingly, the monetary penalties and prison terms become more severe and lengthier with each subsequent DUI charge.
In addition to monetary penalties and jail time, a DUI conviction can bring with it additional penalties and consequences that may not be foreseeable to the individual defendant. Illinois DUI law is very complex and requires skill and experience to understand the full ramifications in each case.
If you have been charged of violating Illinois DUI laws, your first line of defense is to get in touch with an experienced DUI defense attorney. A DUI defense attorney can help you understand your rights and can help defend your case. Call an experienced DUI attorney at Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.