In a tragic incident, a nine year old girl died in a car crash. She was a passenger in her parent’s minivan, being driven by her mother, when a Cadillac veered head on into their lane. The mother attempted to evade the accident by swerving in the other direction, but the Cadillac struck the side of the car where the young girl was sitting, and now she is dead. Two of her young friends, also riding in the minivan, were injured with non-life-threatening injuries. Immediately after the crash, the driver of the Cadillac, according to witnesses, fled from the scene on foot. Armed with the wanted offender’s description from the witnesses, police were able to locate and arrest the alleged driver, a 25 year old man from Aurora.
The man now is charged, preliminarily, with four counts of Aggravated Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, two counts of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, and one count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident involving death or great bodily harm. At this stage, he has yet to be formally charged, as the State’s Attorney must present a case before either a Grand Jury in secret, or in open court before a Judge, for a determination as to whether or not there is “probable cause” to proceed to trial. In cases like this, the State typically goes to the Grand Jury in secret, rather than permit the Defendant to confront the witnesses at a Preliminary Hearing. Also, the State is not limited to the charges listed above when charging the case by either Indictment or Information, and they have indicated more serious charges may I fact be brought.
Under Illinois Law, a driver that commits the offense of driving under the influence involving an accident that results in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement, where the violation is the proximate cause of the collision (not the sole cause), faces a Class 4 felony, which may be punished by a period of probation, but if probation is not granted, carries a prison term of anywhere between 1 to 12 years.
On the other hand, where a DUI violation is the proximate cause of an accident resulting in death, it is a Class 2 felony for which a period of probation may NOT be imposed unless the trial court determines extraordinary circumstances exist which would make a prison sentence untenable. Given that the alleged offender in this case was reported to have recently finished a sentence for a Battery that was reduced from a charge of Aggravated Battery to a Senior (a charge that carries a mandatory prison term, no probation allowed), if he is found guilty of these charges, his attorney will need to present extraordinary circumstances during sentencing to avoid jail.
If you are charged with a DUI, Traffic or Criminal offense, you need the services of the Chicago DUI attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC. Call us today at (312) 644-0444 for a free, confidential consultation.