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New Illinois Law Addresses Wrong-Way DUIs

Posted on in DUI Defense

Chicago DUI defense attorneysEffective January 1, 2019, Illinois judges will be authorized to impose harsher sentences on anyone convicted of “wrong way” driving under the influence (DUI).

The new law, PA 100-1053, was passed in August 2018. It amends a section of the Illinois Criminal Code (730 ILCS 5/5-5-3.2) that lists the aggravating factors that a judge may use to justify extended-term sentencing.

How Extended Term Sentencing Applies to a DUI

Illinois law states that a driver who causes the death of another person while driving under the influence is guilty of a class 2 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison.

However, if at least one aggravating factor is present, the law authorizes an extended-term prison sentence of 7 to 14 years.

Wrong-Way Driving Combined with Drunk Driving Can Be Deadly

This new law was prompted by a fatal car crash that occurred near Oak Brook in 2015. A drunk driver going the wrong way on northbound I-294 collided head-on with another vehicle, killing a young Chicago Ridge police officer and injuring three other people. The drunk driver was sentenced to just five years in prison, but this sentence was considered far too lenient by the officer’s family; they lobbied for a change in the law.

Under Illinois law in 2015, judges were not allowed to consider wrong-way driving as an aggravating factor when imposing a sentence for DUI. With the new law in place, they can. Illinois is the first state in the nation to pass such a law.

Wrong-Way Driving Happens Too Often

A review of Illinois crash data found that wrong-way drivers caused 198 crashes on Chicago-area expressways between 2005 and 2012, or roughly one crash every two weeks.

Another study reported that over 50 people were killed and nearly 300 were injured in crashes involving wrong-way drivers over a 10-year period in Illinois.

Concerned by such statistics, the Illinois Department of Transportation began studying ways to improve safety on the state’s expressways. IDOT has now spent a reported $7 million to help keep wrong-way drivers off the interstates, including the addition of more “wrong way” signs on both sides of entrance ramps.

An Aggressive DuPage County DUI Defense Attorney

A conviction for DUI, especially if anyone was injured or killed, comes with serious consequences--including years in prison and a permanent criminal record that can bar you from many job opportunities. If you have been arrested for DUI in DuPage County, call an Oak Brook DUI defense lawyer right away. The attorneys at McMahon Law Offices have successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with a DUI. Call us 630-953-4400 for a free initial consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=4554&GAID=14&GA=100&DocTypeID=HB&LegID=109461&SessionID=91&SpecSess=

https://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/New-Illinois-Law-Toughens-Penalties-for-Impaired-Wrong-Way-Drivers-492222731.html

https://abc7chicago.com/news/chicago-ridge-officer-killed-in-wrong-way-crash-on-i-294/983386/

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-wrong-way-driver-law-st-0902-story.html

 

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