Illinois Drug-Related DUI Law Must Change

Current Illinois law allows a driver to be charged with DUI based on a trace of illegal drugs in their system. This is true regardless of impairment and even if the drug was used weeks earlier. The Illinois State Bar Association is challenging this unjust law.

Larry Davis, a principal at The Davis Law Group, P.C., helped to write the Illinois State Bar Association’s proposal. The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin quoted Mr. Davis stating, “It is a bad law. It is putting people who have not really committed anything that would justify that type of treatment–putting them in prison.” If the proposal is enacted into law, a driver who has marijuana in his system and is involved in a serious or fatal accident would be charged with a misdemeanor separate from the DUI charge. In order for the charge to be elevated to a felony aggravated DUI charge, prosecutors must prove impairment.

A prime example of the current, unjust law is illustrated by the case of Scott Shirey. Shirey was driving his 10 year old twins to swim practice when a pickup truck ran a red light, crashed into his car, killed one of his sons and severely injured the other. There was no allegation that he was under the influence or impaired in any way. When Shirey’s blood results came back, he had trace amounts of marijuana in his system. Shirey claims he had smoked pot a month before, but he faced up to 14 years in prison for an accident in which he was not at fault. In the end, Shirey received probation. His case has sparked controversy and a call for change.

Island Lake fatal crash cited as Illinois no-tolerance DUI pot law is challenged, www.dailyherald.com, November 14, 2014
ISBA pushes for drug-related DUI change, www.chicagolawbulletin.com, November 19, 2014

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