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Reckless Homicide Attorney in Illinois

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Reckless Homicide Attorney in Illinois

In Illinois, charges of reckless homicide are the same as charges of involuntary manslaughter, and they often go along with charges of DUI. It would be assumed that an offender who caused someone's death was acting recklessly if it was discovered that he was a drunk driver.

Suppose you are charged; the attorney at Kuchinski Law Group has the knowledge and experience to use various defenses to reduce the penalties you face. Depending on the circumstances, the defense may argue that the driver was not solely to blame for the accident and that no carelessness was involved.

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What is Reckless Homicide in DUI

In a DUI context, reckless homicide is the term used to describe when a driver, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, kills another person while driving carelessly. The prosecution has to prove three things in order to win a conviction for DUI-related reckless homicide:

  • The driver was operating the vehicle in a way that was unsafe or dangerous at the time of the accident,
  • was over the legal blood alcohol limit,
  • and this behavior directly caused the victim's death.

Reckless murder involves taking actions that cause someone's death out of a wanton disregard for human life. The offender intentionally ignores the risks to human life even when they are aware of them. Not only is there neglect, but deliberate carelessness.

Let's say there is a failure to use reasonable caution but no intention to kill. In that instance, this may be considered a negligent killing brought about by the offender's carelessness or negligence. It is also known as criminally negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter. Compared to manslaughter or murder, the punishment is less harsh. Under the law, unintentional murder cannot be classified as murder if there is no intent. It could be a term referring to a manslaughter charge or an accidental killing. But murder requires criminal intent and malice.

Legal Implications of Reckless Homicide in DUI Cases

Reckless homicide is a class 2 felony in Illinois, which is a severe criminal violation. If there are aggravating circumstances, such as speeding excessively, past DUI convictions, or hit-and-run incidents, the charges and penalty may be more harsh. The victim's family is probably going to file legal lawsuits for wrongful death, which could result in significant financial liabilities.

The filing of formal charges by the prosecution usually initiates a case that will eventually go to trial. Negotiations for a plea deal can take place. During the trial, the jury will be asked to consider evidence on driving behavior, impairment, and cause of death to determine guilt. Evidence from experts will be used to describe the effects of alcohol on the offender's ability to drive or the BAC level. Accounts from eyewitnesses are also essential. The court will apply the legislation and sentencing guidelines to decide the precise penalty if found guilty.

The trial will focus on proving that the driver's intoxication and recklessness caused the fatality, as this charge carries severe criminal sanctions. It is expected to experience overwhelm or terror when confronted with the implications. To help you focus on the next step and make wise decisions regarding your defense and future, an experienced lawyer at Kuchinski Law can offer you all the support you need.

Common Scenarios and Examples

Drunk driving is reckless because it is inherently harmful and damaging; deciding to drive while intoxicated shows a lack of care for human life. The following common scenarios may result in charges of reckless homicide in DUI cases:

  • BAC is abnormally high: A driver exhibits severe impairment and poor judgment when driving if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.15% or higher. If they result in a fatality, this may play a role in charges.
  • Past DUI Verdicts: If the driver has a history of arrests or convictions, it indicates that they knew the dangers of driving while intoxicated yet chose to do it.
  • Excessive Speeding: A drunk driver's blatant disregard for safety is shown when they were traveling at extremely high speeds—above 100 mph—before a fatal collision. Homicide charges may be justified due to the combination of alcohol and irresponsible action.
  • Hit-and-run: When a drunk driver causes a deadly accident and then leaves the scene instead of stopping and helping the injured victim, it shows that they are conscious of their guilt and responsibility for the tragedy. This careless victim abandonment can result in more serious charges.

Penalties and Consequences for Reckless Homicide in DUI

For a reckless homicide conviction, under Illinois laws (statute 720 ILCS 5/9-3, probation is typically not an option. There will be a minimum one-year suspension of the driver's license. Administrative license suspensions will also be imposed if the driver refuses or fails a chemical test following an arrest.

The following are the penalties:

  • Class 2 felony conviction for committing the offense in a school zone, with a maximum sentence of 14 years.
  • A conviction may also result in a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Causing the death of 2 or more people while in a school zone or while disobeying a police officer or traffic control aide is a class 2 felony. Conviction carries imprisonment from 6 to 28 years.
  • Committing the offense while driving in a construction or maintenance zone or failing to comply with a police officer or traffic control aide. Class 2 felony with conviction and a jail sentence from 3 to 14 years.
  • Causing the death of a household member or relative is a class 2 felony that carries a sentence of 3 to 13 years in jail.

The surviving family member has the right to file a lawsuit for significant financial damages for suffering, loss of companionship, and lost wages. It is legal for spouses to file lawsuits for loss of benefits from their partner and damage to the marriage. Following sentence completion, a statutory three-year period of supervised release applies. Noncompliance may result in jail once more.

Defending Against Reckless Homicide Charges in DUI Cases

The regulations about reckless homicide are extensive and complex. Hiring a lawyer with experience handling these cases is crucial. Sergei Kuchinski is qualified to examine the specifics of your case and attend to any concerns you may have. Outlining a defense plan will be necessary to ensure a successful outcome. To defend a client accused of reckless homicide in DUI, a defense lawyer may employ the following defense strategy:

  • Contesting BAC test results: Even if a blood or breath test revealed that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident, you may be able to contest the results if the testing was done wrongly, the testing violated your right against unwarranted search and seizure.
  • Dispute reckless driving: Kuchinski's law attorney may contend that the client did not drive in an overly risky or careless manner just before the accident. They might argue that bad weather, poor road conditions, or other variables led to the crash.
  • Claim lack of intent: The lawyer can assert that the client never meant for the incident to happen and that it was an unfortunate accident. It can dispel the notion of wanton disregard for human life.
  • Cast doubt on identifications: In hit-and-run cases, there may be uncertainty over the defendant's involvement if it is unclear whether the accused was correctly identified as the driver who fled.

Using these strategies, the defense usually aims for an acquittal or a reduced sentence. We will try to get charges reduced to negligent homicide or manslaughter in exchange for a guilty plea.

How Kuchinski Law Group Can Assist

You must hire an expert criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are accused of reckless homicide. Getting the expertise and understanding of an experienced lawyer from Kuchinski Law Group will significantly improve your ability to assert your legal rights and guarantee the best possible result. 

At Kuchinski Law Group, we know your future, freedom, and rights are in jeopardy. To arrange an evaluation and learn more about how we can defend you against these charges, call us at (312) 765-7365 today.


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  • I couldn't be any happier with Sergei Kuchinski. Sergei is nothing short of amazing. He is professional, understanding, and emphatic. He really take your case with extreme care. He goes through every detail and consistently keep you in the loop of every step and know of what to come next, and give you the best advice on what to do. I highly recommend him.

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