As fatalities in car crashes purportedly involving illegal drug use has decreased in recent years, more attention is being focused upon the use of prescription medications instead. It was claimed in one study that fatal accidents increased by 49 percent when comparing accidents from 1999-2000 to 2009-2010.
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.
As we have discussed in the past, it is possible to be charged with driving under the influence of drugs in addition to driving under the influence of alcohol. It is also possible to be charged with drugged driving when legal prescription drugs impair a person’s ability to drive.
In Illinois, driving with any amount of marijuana in your system can be considered “drugged driving.” However, while some officials want to treat driving under the influence of marijuana the same as driving under the influence of alcohol, scientific data suggests that the two are entirely different.
New questions are being raised about the specificity of Illinois' criteria for an OWI charge, as a woman who was high on inhalants will likely avoid aggravated drugged driving charges. The 19-year-old woman was reportedly found with the compound difluoroethane in her system - a compound generally used in aerosols for cleaning electronics - when she was arrested after a fatal accident. The trouble is that Illinois law does not categorize the substance as an official intoxicant. Difluoroethane actually displaces oxygen in the bloodstream, leading to an anesthetic effect that can actually cause a heart attack leading to death.