Fatal Crash Triggers Severe Possible Penalties

An underage driver will remain in custody without bond as he awaits trial on a litany of cases, including aggravated DUI.

Police state that 19-year-old Mishel Lame was under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and muscle relaxers when he rear-ended his BMW into a Jeep at an intersection on Nagle Drive. The force of the impact propelled the Jeep into a Lexus that was directly in front of it; the Lexus then swerved into oncoming traffic, striking a Honda head-on. Mr. Lame’s BMW careened into a nearby tree, according to prosecutors. First responders had to use the Jaws of Life to free 20-year-old Marion-Mario Tahiraj from the BMW’s passenger side; he was subsequently declared dead at a local hospital.

Mr. Lame, who remains hospitalized with serious injuries, had a BAC of .190 at the time of the crash, according to a blood test. In addition to aggravated DUI, he faces charges of negligent driving, failure to maintain financial responsibility, and failure to reduce speed.

Pretrial Release

Confinement is a serious impediment to an effective defense because people who are in jail can meet with their attorneys to discuss the case only under controlled circumstances. Aside from the legal aspect, there are some very important personal reasons to be free as well.

The Eighth Amendment prohibits “excessive bail” in criminal cases. In practical terms, the provision requires that the presumption of innocence be balanced against public safety concerns. In a DUI case, especially one that involves a high BAC and/or serious crash, the prosecutor nearly always argues that the defendant is dangerous and should be denied bail, but the availability of ignition interlock devices means that the defendant can be free while not endangering the public.

The state also has an interest in ensuring that the defendant appears at trial, so circumstances like wealth, the ability to travel, and the severity of the charged offense may come into play.

Aggravated DUI

Illinois has some of the toughest and most comprehensive DUI laws in the country, and many prosecutors are anxious to add as many enhancements as possible. Any DUI becomes a felony if there are “aggravating” circumstances, which include:

  • Two or more prior DUI convictions
  • Offense committed while operating a for-hire car with one or more passengers,
  • Passenger under 16, if the driver had one or more prior DUI convictions,
  • Offense committed without insurance or a driver’s license, and
  • DUI resulting in serious injury or property damage.

There is no lookback period or washout period in Illinois, so prior convictions always result in enhancements, no matter how old the convictions are. A prison sentence is not necessarily mandatory in an aggravated DUI case, but it takes an aggressive lawyer to avoid this outcome.

Rely on Assertive Lawyers

From start to finish, an aggressive defense is often the key to a successful outcome. To begin the process with a free consultation, call Glasgow & Olsson right away. The sooner you call, the sooner we can get started.

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