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Victims of DUI Encounters: Know Your Rights

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Aurora Man Charged with DUI Accident

On March 31, 2020, Waldemar Montalvo, Jr., an Aurora resident, was charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence and aggravated assault of a police officer. The charges stemmed from a motor vehicle accident on March 27, 2020.

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DUIs and COVID-19 Don’t Mix

The police reported that Mr. Montalvo crashed his Chevrolet Malibu on Miller Drive in Chicago suburb Aurora. Police investigation revealed that Mr. Montalvo demonstrated signs of alcohol impairment. In response to the police’s questions, Mr. Montalvo claimed to be infected with the novel COVID-19 virus and then spat on the police officers several times. Mr. Montalvo’s situation was exacerbated when police and prosecutors discovered that his driver’s license was suspended from a previous DUI conviction.

The most shocking piece of information from this incident was that Mr. Montalvo’s three children were in the car at the time of the crash.  Too often, the people who are injured in a DUI crash are innocent people and children minding their own business.

Illinois and DUIs

The State of Illinois defines driving under the influence as “operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, other drugs, including cannabis (marijuana) prescribed for medical purposes, or intoxicating compounds and methamphetamine” and you are legally considered to be under the influence if there is a “blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more, have tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) concentration (THC) of either 5 nanograms or more per milliliter of whole blood.”

How many drinks are too many?

For a man of about 170 pounds, this amounts to about four drinks per hour. For a woman of about 137 pounds, this is about three drinks per hour. Drinks are measured to be about .54 ounces of pure alcohol. Contrary to what you may read on social media or hear from your friends, there are no quick fixes to getting sober; only time will get rid of alcohol in the body.

Illinois DUI Offender Infographic

Who is the average DUI offender in Illinois?

The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State released a report that indicates that the average DUI offender is:

  1.       male (74 percent arrested are men);
  2.       age 34 (52% are under age 35)
  3.       arrested between 11:00 P.M. and 4:00 A.M. on a weekend; and
  4.       caught driving with a BAC of .16 (which is twice the legal limit).

Drunk Driving Statistics in Illinois

Drinking and driving is a deadly combination. In 2018, 26,386 DUI arrests were made by Illinois policemen, and 291 people were killed in alcohol related crashes in Illinois. This made up nearly one-third of all crash fatalities.  Nationally, there are nearly 11,000 motor vehicle fatalities that involve alcohol impaired driving.

Serious Penalties for Drunk Driving

In order to deter people from drinking and driving, the State of Illinois can enforce a range of penalties which may include criminal prosecution, fines, and suspensions of revocations of driver’s license. Additional penalties include vehicle impoundment, inclusion of DUI on the driver’s permanent record, increased insurance premiums, and jail time.

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Drunk Drivers Are a Greater Threat than You Might Think

As we can see by Mr. Montalvo above, suspending a driver’s license does not automatically prevent people from driving when they shouldn’t. This is further reinforced by a statistic released by the CDC that stated drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes are seven times more likely to have a prior DUI arrest, and that an average drunk driver has driven drunk approximately eighty times before their first arrest. The statistics by the CDC clearly demonstrate there are more drunk drivers that pose threats to your friends and family out there than we think.

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DUI Victims Have Rights in Illinois

Since Illinois recognizes DUI as a violent crime, victims of DUI encounters are entitled to rights. The Illinois Crime Victims’ Rights Constitutional Amendment provides some of the following:

  1.     Be free from harassment, intimidation, and abuse throughout the criminal justice process;
  2.     A notice for hearing before the Court rules on a request to access their records, information, or privileged communications;
  3.     Be notified in a timely manner of all court proceedings;
  4.     Communicate with the prosecution;
  5.     Be heard at any post-arraignment court proceed;
  6.     Be notified of the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused; and
  7.     Restitution.

DUI Victims’ Restitution

Restitution in this case can mean pursuing a claim for injuries or property damage with the driver’s insurance company.  This includes getting help with medical bills, missed wages from work, and compensation for pain and suffering. However, your right to recover will not be protected by the Prosecutor in the criminal case. The claim for injuries is separate and distinct from the criminal prosecution of the case. The civil process allows for the victim to directly obtain justice and appropriate compensation through the means of a lawsuit.

Insurance Company Roadblocks

Generally, drunk driving arrests are not enough for insurance companies to deny coverage for the offending party. However, even though their insured party is at fault, there may be roadblocks that the insurance company will try to put up to prevent you from recovering the money you deserve. The attorneys at the Kryder Law Group, LLC are well equipped to overcome these obstacles and delays.

DUI Victims, Get Help

Although alcohol impaired driving has declined over the past three year, it continues to cause thousands of deaths each year. If you were injured due to a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of a drunk driver, do not hesitate to reach out to us at the Kryder Law Group by phone at 312-223-1700, by email at info@kryderlaw.com, or through the interactive chat client on our website for a free and confidential consultation about your potential case.

The facts that are specific and unique to your situation will determine whether you are entitled to compensation under the law and whether you can recover monetary damages. It is important to contact our office soon because under Illinois law, there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. We know injuries are incredibly stressful, so please read the positive reviews on our Google page and see how we’ve helped countless others handle similar injuries.

 

Call or text (312) 598-0739 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form

Due to the COVID-19 situation our attorneys and staff are working remotely. Email is the preferred method of contact during the shelter in place order issued by the Governor of Illinois. Attorney emails can be found on our web page.