Authorities charged an 80-year-old man with DUI following a minor wreck in Barrington Hills.
The crash occurred near the intersection of Route 68 and Bateman Road. According to Barrington Hills police, Donald Cikauskas was westbound on Route 68 when he collided with another vehicle and pushed it onto the eastbound side. Both cars then crossed back onto the westbound side and then onto the right shoulder. Mr. Cikauskas and the other driver, whose name was withheld, were evaluated and released at a local hospital.
In addition to DUI, police charged Mr. Cikauskas with failing to yield the right of way and driving without proof of financial responsibility.
Incidents like this one illustrate how aggressively authorities prosecute DUI cases. Although alcohol-related offenses are no longer the political hot buttons that they were 10 or 20 years ago, many law enforcement agencies still feel tremendous pressure to make DUI arrests, particularly if there is a selective traffic enforcement program (STEP) in place, or other grant-funded saturation enforcement campaign ongoing. Moreover, prosecutors nearly always charge the most serious offense that the facts can possibly support, reasoning that such a move will give their colleagues more leverage in later plea negotiations. Therefore, if the word “alcohol” appears anywhere in the police report, that typically means a DUI charge.
These forces are even more apparent when there are aggravating circumstances, and the most frequent aggravating circumstance is probably a subsequent DUI. Illinois does not have a lookback period, so if a person is convicted of DUI in 1984 and arrested again in 2016, the 2016 arrest is prosecuted as a second DUI even though the prior one may be older than the officer who made the subsequent arrest.
Subsequent DUIs are typically not probation-eligible offenses, so to avoid a lengthy jail or prison sentence, an attorney often arranges a plea bargain in which the defendant pleads guilty to reckless driving, which is a lesser included offense. In addition to being probation-eligible, reckless driving may not have as bad of an effect on the defendant’s driver’s license.
Second, third, and fourth DUIs are certainly not the only aggravating charging circumstances. Some other ones include:
- Driving with Open Container: An open container of alcohol anywhere in the vehicle does not necessarily violate the open container law, because there are defenses in Sections 11-502(c) and 6-33.
- DUI School Zone: Similarly, not all DUIs near schools can be charged as such, because school must be in session, the reduced speed limit must apply, and there normally must also be a collision.
- DUI Collision/DUI Manslaughter: If officers arrive after the defendant has already left the vehicle, it is almost impossible for the state to establish that the defendant was driving the vehicle, especially if there was more than one person in the car.
Some other enhancements, like a DUI with a passenger 16 or under, no valid driver’s license, or while operating a vehicle for hire, are more difficult to defend.
Reach Out to Aggressive Lawyers
Aggravated DUI is one of the most commonly-charged serious crimes. For an aggressive defense in this matter, contact a diligent criminal defense attorney in Schaumburg from Glasgow & Olsson. Convenient payment plans are available.
(image courtesy of Joao Krueger)