Were you a victim of an accident with a driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Although there are severe criminal penalties associated with driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois, many motorists still choose to get behind the wheel when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is well over the legal limit in Illinois of 0.08. Drivers operating vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents both in Illinois as well as in the rest of the United States.
Recognizing the role that alcohol continues to play in car accidents in the state of Illinois, voters have enacted a constitutional amendment to the Illinois state constitution in November 2014 which provides substantive rights to victims of certain crimes, including victims of drunken driving.
DUI Victims’ Rights in Illinois
Under the Illinois Crime Victims’ Rights Constitutional Amendment, detailed in Section 8.1 of the Illinois Constitution, victims of certain crimes, which includes DUI’s, have the following rights under Illinois law: (i) to be notified in a timely manner of all court proceedings involving the DUI in which they were injured; (ii) communicate with the prosecution; (ii) be heard at any post-arraignment court proceeding in which the victim’s rights are involved or any court proceeding involving a post-arraignment release decision, plea or sentencing for the defendant who caused the DU accidents; (iii) be notified of the conviction, sentence, imprisonment and release of the defendant; (iv) to be reasonably protected from the defendant through the criminal justice process; (v) to be present at the trial and all the court proceedings on the same basis as the defendant, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim’s testimony would be materially affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial; and (v) restitution for damages the accident may have caused the crime victim may be imposed as a part of the defendant’s ultimate sentence.
Further information regarding these rights, including additional rights crime victims have in addition to those listed above as well as a copy of the entire Illinois state constitution, can be found here.
Civil Remedies Against Drunk Drivers
Aside from the DUI victims’ rights provided under the Illinois state constitution, motorists or those injured by someone who was driving under the influence should also keep in mind they also have the right to assert a civil lawsuit against the drunken driver as a result of that driver’s actions. Like any motorist injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, all available civil law remedies are available to those involved in a car accident involving a drunk driver, including a private right of action to sue the drunken driver and/or his or her insurer for any injuries and damages a person may have suffered as a result of their actions. This is important because, as essential as it is that DUI victims be allowed to participate in a drunken driver’s criminal proceedings, a drunken driver may be unable to pay any order of restitution that is included as a part of the drunken driver’s sentence by the judge. Therefore, it is important for the victim to still pursue the drunken driver’s insurer for payment of injuries and financial losses suffered as a result of the accident caused by the drunk driver.
Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. if You Have Been Injured By a Drunken Driver in Illinois
If you were injured by a drunken driver in Illinois, you should contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we are experienced personal injury attorneys who have represented many victims of accidents involving alcohol or drunken driving. For a free consultation with one of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.’s attorneys, please do not hesitate to contact us at (312) 236-2900.