A 35-year old Illinois man was recently sentenced to seven and a half years in prison after being convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol for the sixth time. The Ogden resident pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI on Jan. 14 after entering into a negotiated plea agreement with the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office. The maximum sentence for the Class X felony is 30 years in prison. The judge who handed down the sentence gave the man credit for the 139 days he had already spent in custody.
The man was charged with his sixth DUI in February 2019 when deputies from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene of a one-car accident on East Lincoln Street in Ogden. Deputies determined that the man’s vehicle had struck a tree and a garage before coming to a stop. When they checked inside the vehicle, deputies say that they discovered an open container of alcohol and a plastic pill bottle containing what appeared to be marijuana. The man was taken into custody at the scene and transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
According to court documents, the man had a blood alcohol concentration of .256% when he lost control of his vehicle. This is more than three times the .08% legal driving limit in Illinois. A records check revealed that the man had been convicted of DUI in Vermilion County on five occasions between 2002 and 2009.
This case shows that prosecutors may be willing to offer significant sentencing concessions in drunk driving cases even when they have compelling evidence of guilt and a defendant who is unlikely to elicit much sympathy from a jury. When representing individuals charged with DUI, experienced criminal defense attorneys could encourage prosecutors to take a more lenient sentencing position by raising questions about the actions of police the officers involved or the way toxicology tests were conducted.