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Young woman's bid for DUI conviction reversal denied

A Highland Park woman who was convicted of aggravated DUI in connection with an incident in 2012 was unable to have her conviction reversed at the request of her attorney. The 19-year-old was convicted in May of intentionally inhaling a keyboard cleaning chemical, getting behind the wheel and crashing into a family. As a result of the crash, a little girl died.

The young woman’s attorney had made a motion to have the conviction reversed on the grounds that the cleaning agent she inhaled, difluoroethane, is not listed in the law detailing specific intoxicating chemicals. The motion was ultimately denied on the grounds that the law’s intent is to target induced intoxication, which he said occurred in this case. Under Illinois’ DUI law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with “any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person’s breath, blood, or urine.” 

Although the young woman in this case was unable to have her conviction reversed, it is to her benefit that she was working with an attorney committed to making that attempt. DUI defense, as readers know, can involve a variety of issues, including the legality of the police investigation, the accuracy of breath, blood or urine testing, and the sufficiency of the evidence. Regardless of the specific issues involved, it is important for DUI defendants to understand their rights and how their case will stand up in court.

Another thing to keep in mind is that criminal defense does not end at conviction, but continues on through the sentencing process and, if necessary, through the appeals process. In some cases, defendants end up switching attorneys for an appeal, but the important point is to take advantage of the protection and advocacy offered by a skilled attorney.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Judge upholds guilty ruling in ‘huffing’ crash,” Susan Berger, July 10, 2014. 

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