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Driver sentenced for DUI based upon drugs found in system

An individual from Sycamore, Illinois has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated DUI involving the death of an 11-year-old boy.  Law enforcement authorities claim that the individual charged had tested positive for heroin after the Feb. 27, 2013 accident.

It appears that the judge based the sentencing in part on a claimed history of arrests of this individual while having his license suspended.  The judge claimed this demonstrated a "total disregard for public safety."  The attorney for this individual on the other hand asked for a lesser sentence because the drugs were used a day earlier and that there was no sign that the driver was impaired at the time the accident occurred.

The mother of the young boy had testified about the void left by the loss of her son.  "I do want to see him get some help and become a better person," she was quoted as saying concerning the driver.

Obviously what occurred is a tragedy.  However, this case does show the problems with charging individuals of driving under the influence of drugs.  A substance may remain in the system of an individual long after any impairment has worn-off.  Also, there are often problems in the manner in which blood tests are administered that possibly could lead to incorrect results.

Speaking to an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible after an arrest is the best option for individuals under these circumstances.  Attorneys can make certain that the individual arrested receive the best representation and that misleading assumptions do not lead to a harsher sentence.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "12-year sentence for driver in fatal Sycamore crash," Clifford Ward, March 26, 2014

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