Archive for November, 2013
November 29th, 2013 at 3:40 pm
Willie Craft Sr., 58, of Urbana, was charged in mid-November “with two felony counts of driving under the influence and one count of reckless homicide,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Craft was piloting a pick-up when he went over a curb and “struck two students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, killing one of them.” It was later discovered that Craft had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash, according to Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz and as reported by the Tribune. Craft was initially “cited for driving without insurance and improper lane usage,” after the incident, but according to Rietz it was upon further investigation that officials stated that Craft was driving under the influence. He was also “not properly treating his diabetic condition,” according to the Tribune.
Mimi Liu, 20, of Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood was killed in the crash, and another student was injured. According to Rietz, Craft “told officials he was driving on the day of the crash for the first time in three years with the intent of getting insurance for his vehicle.” He had previously stayed away from getting behind the wheel because of his diabetic condition, according to the Tribune. That day, according to the Tribune, Craft said that, “he did not eat breakfast that morning even though he knew he needed it to keep his blood levels up.”
According to NORML, a non-profit that works to reform marijuana laws, Illinois is one of a handful of states that enforces per se drugged driving laws, in which a driver who tests positive for an inactive THC metabolite can be slapped with a DUI. This byproduct, however, “may be present in the urine of daily cannabis consumers for several weeks, or even months, after past use.”
A Court of Appeals in Arizona earlier this year deliberated a case involving the per se law in Arizona, and upheld the validity of the state’s per se law. As an attorney told the USA Today, “as things stand, a person from Arizona could go on a snowboarding trip to Colorado or Washington state, where marijuana is legal… and then a month later… get stopped and be convicted of DUI.”
November 25th, 2013 at 3:23 pm
Not all DUIs involve alcohol. For Carly Rousso, the “Highland Park woman charged last year with ‘huffing’ a computer cleaning product before the vehicle she was driving struck and killed a 5-year-old girl” was scheduled to face trial this November, according to the Chicago Tribune. Before the trial could begin, however, lawyers debated just what substances count when it comes to driving under the influence, and debated just which kind of intoxicating effects count toward a DUI charge. “The cleaning product police,” according to the Tribune, “say what she inhaled contains difluoroethane, which is not spelled out as an intoxicating substance in the law.”
Rousso, now 19, has been charged with four counts of aggravated DUI and reckless homicide. She is currently out of jail on $500,000 bond. “If convicted on all charges,” reports the Tribune, “she faces up to 26 years in prison, according to prosecutors.” In mid-November, the trial was pushed back, according to HLNtv.com. “A judge is giving attorneys in the case…. more time to develop their arguments about the constitutionality of her charges.”
Her attorneys are expected to argue in the vein that the charges Rousso is facing are too vague, and thus violate due process, according to HLNtv. The defense motion states that “neither the defendant nor any other person of ordinary intelligence can ever know with any certainty whether difuoroethane or any other substances not named in the Act, are prohibited from use.” Rousso’s opposition is expected to argue that Rousso inhaled the substance with the intent of altering her state of mind, and so is therefore culpable for DUI.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an “estimated 10.3 million people aged 12 or older (or 3.9 percent of adolescents and adults) reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the year prior to being surveyed.” This was a higher rate than in 2011, but considerably lower than it was in 2002. Depending on the outcome of Rousso’s case, more unscheduled drugs could be listed as substances banned for consumption and subsequent operation of a motor vehicle.
If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI, don’t go through it alone. Contact Ramsell & Associates Attorneys at Law, LLC today.
November 21st, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Casey Kohlmeier, a 29-year-old police officer from Pontiac was killed in late October when his patrol car was hit by another car in a median turnaround on I-55, according to the Chicago Tribune. Kohlmeier was “in his patrol car when he was struck,” reports the Tribune, and although no initial arrests were made, a South Carolina man has since been charged with DUI in connection with the fatal crash. “Kohlmeier joined the Pontiac Police Department in January 2007… State Police Director Hiram Grau released a statement offering his condolences,” reports the Tribune. Kohlmeier was not alone in the car when the incident occurred—his K–9 partner, Draco, was also killed in the crash, according to the Tribune.
In early November, according to a different article from the Chicago Tribune, Jason C. Collins, 33, was officially charged with aggravated driving under the influence. Collins is from West Colombia, S.C. and “was driving a pickup north on Interstate 55 near the Route 23 exit when the pickup left the roadway and hit the patrol car,” police told the Tribune. Collins was arrested as soon as he was discharged from the hospital where he was being treated for minor injuries sustained in the crash. Police did not release what Collins’ blood alcohol level was at the time of incident, however.
Though the Tribune did not report Collins’ BAC at the time of the crash, Collins fits perfectly with the conception of the average DUI offender, at least according to the Illinois DUI Fact Book 2013. According to the Fact Book, the average DUI offender “is male (76 percent arrested are men); and age 34 (60 percent are under age 35).” According to DrinkingandDriving.org, a full third of the 900,000 people arrested for DUI/DWI each year in the U.S. are repeat offenders—a staggering statistic that many states (including Illinois) are attempting to combat with periods of stricter enforcement and harsher penalties for those convicted of DUI.
Collins, of course, has since been charged with aggravated DUI, a felony in Illinois. According to the Fact Book, “any mandatory term of imprisonment or community service is not subject to suspension or reduction” regarding this type of charge.
If you or someone you know has been accused of an aggravated DUI, don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois DUI attorney today.