Convicting People of Aggravated DUI Just Got a Lot Easier

On his way home from a bar on Christmas Day of 2004, Aaron Martin drove head-on into another car, killing two women. A urine test revealed “trace amounts” of methamphetamine in Martin’s system and he was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence (DUI). While Martin’s conviction was overturned because the prosecution failed to show that the trace amount of methamphetamine in Martin’s system caused the fatal accident, the Illinois Supreme Court disagreed.

With Martin’s case, the state high court made convicting drivers using drugs or alcohol a whole lot easier. Prosecutors previously had to prove that the drugs or alcohol in someone’s system impaired the person’s driving, causing a fatal crash. Now, the government need only show that there were drugs or alcohol in a driver’s system and that the driver’s bad driving caused the fatal accident.

The Impact

This ruling allows prosecutors to easily increase DUI offenses from misdemeanors to felonies, which can carry significant prison time. Now, even if a driver used an illegal drug so long before an accident that their ability to drive was not impaired, they may still face a felony conviction and prison if the drug is still in their system. Their message is to stay off Illinois roads if you ever use drugs. That message is offensive to fairness and justice everywhere.

The Illinois Supreme Court has given prosecutors an unfair advantage in prosecuting aggravated DUI cases. Now to send someone to prison, the government only needs to show a fatal accident, fault and some drugs in the driver’s system.

If you or a loved on has been charged with an aggravated DUI, it is critical that you have a vigorous attorney to fight for your rights through the whole process. Contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your situation and your options.

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