Illinois woman pleads innocent to felony charge

A woman who has already pleaded guilty to a reckless homicide charge filed against her in the case of the death of a 5-year-old girl is now pleading innocent to the charge of aggravated DUI. The felony charge comes as part of the case against the Illinois woman who police say was responsible for striking and killing a little girl with her car. Of course, an admission of guilt in the case of one crime does not automatically determine guilt in any secondary charges.

A videotaped confession of the 19-year-old woman accused in this case shows her admitting to huffing keyboard cleaner just in advance of the accident that killed the little girl. She was charged with and pleaded guilty to reckless homicide, but her lawyer is arguing against the DUI charge. The reason given is that a keyboard cleaner is not technically considered an intoxicant under Illinois law.

While this may seem like semantics to some, it is important to remember that an aggravated DUI felony charge could see this young woman behind bars for up to 14 years, so the distinction makes a profound difference to the outcome of the case. The intent of the defense appears to be to take issue with the wording of the DUI law as it stands in Illinois books. If successful, the young woman will still face punishment for the reckless homicide charge, but it will be considerably less severe than if she is convicted of the aggravated DUI charge.

Committing one crime does not automatically make one guilty of a second. Illinois prosecutors may have a difficult time seeing the felony charge through if the defense is successful in convincing the court that the woman was not, according to the law, intoxicated at the time of the accident. This could mean the difference between a moderate jail sentence and over a decade behind bars.

Source: abc7chicago.com, "Carly Rousso pleads guilty to reckless homicide, fights felony DUI charges", Jessica D'Onofrio and Michelle Gallardo, May 27, 2014

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