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Challenge to Illinois law could affect who faces a DUI charge

Most people realize that driving while under the influence could have dangerous consequences. Others will admit that some sort of consequence when a DUI charge can be proven may be just. The Illinois State Bar is now challenging a law that was written a few decades ago, claiming that it unfairly leads to criminal charges against those who may not deserve them. If it is successful, it may alter who may be charged under certain circumstances.

As the law is written, a person who has any illegal substance in their system, even if they are not under the influence at the time of the accident, can be charged with a DUI. The association cites a specific case for justification for the challenge. In Dec. 2011, a man and his son were involved in an accident that was caused by another driver who ran a red light. The son died in the accident.

However, as state law requires that blood samples be taken in any accident involving a serious injury or death, a sample was collected from the father. Test results showed that he had trace amounts of marijuana in his system from drugs he says he ingested a month prior. He was not allowed to argue in court that he was not under the influence at the time. He ultimately pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 30 months probation.

The Illinois State Bar Association takes issue with the fact that, under the law, even those who are not actually under the influence at the time of the accident -- and as in this case, were arguably not at fault -- will face a DUI charge. A charge such as this, regardless of the circumstances, requires a defense prepared by a person with experience regarding applicable laws and local court procedures. Such an individual will be able to help a defendant choose a course of action that focuses on pursuing the best possible outcome.

Source:, "State bar association challenging Illinois DUI law", Nov. 14, 2014

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