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Out-of-State Resident Charged with Aggravated DUI

November 15th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

illinois-reckless-dui-chargesA South Carolina man was charged with driving under the influence after a fatal car accident that claimed the lives of a Pontiac, IL police officer and his K-9 partner. The Pantagraph reports that Jason Collins of West Columbia, SC, struck a parked Pontiac Police SUV that contained Officer Casey Kohlmeier and a German Shepherd K-9 officer named Draco. Kohlmeier was taken to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. Draco died at the site of the crash.

Collins told police that he had been drinking at a bar before the accident. Surveillance footage confirms that he was at a Bloomington bar for 5 hours before getting behind the wheel.

Collins was charged with one count of reckless homicide, two counts of driving under the influence, and two additional counts of aggravated driving under the influence. In the State of Illinois, DUI is a Class A misdemeanor, and is only punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year minus one day, or a fine of no more than $2500. However, a charge of driving under the influence can be aggravated by a number of things, including:

  • Driving a school bus with juveniles on board;
  • Causing bodily injury to someone in a school zone;
  • Causing bodily injury to a passenger under the age of 16; or
  • Causing death or great bodily injury to someone as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

Aggravated DUI is a Class 4 Felony (for the first offense), and is punishable by incarceration of up to 3 years and a maximum fine of $25,000 for each offense.

Reckless homicide is defined as the unintentional killing of an individual while driving a motor vehicle and operating the vehicle in such a way that it becomes airborne. Ordinarily, reckless homicide is a Class 3 felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 5 years and a $25,000 fine. However, if the victim of the homicide is a peace officer in the midst of performing his law enforcement duties, reckless homicide is a Class 2 Felony, with a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

DUI is expensive, dangerous and, often, tragic. Losing one’s driver’s license is often the very least one can expect from driving under the influence. At worst, you can end up broke, incarcerated, and responsible for the death of an innocent police officer and his dog. The best way to prevent being arrested for DUI is to not drink and drive. If you do find yourself under arrest for DUI, contact an experienced DUI attorney in Illinois for guidance and representation.

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