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Free Example of Driving under Influence Essay

Mark and George both commit the crime of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under Influence (DUI).The crime refers to the act of operating an automobile or motor vehicle when mental judgment and motor skills are highly impaired due to consumption of drugs or alcohol.The crime is illegal in all states in The United States. A crash is deemed to have occurred under the influence of alcohol when the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.01% or greater.

The crime of reckless driving is a misdemeanor that involves driving while willfully disregarding the safety of other people. Recklessness can be presumed from excessive speeding. Driving while aware of intoxication or mental and physical impairments leads to a conviction of reckless driving. Driving under influence and reckless driving are often prosecuted as two distinct crimes. This is because proving the two crimes require different sets of evidence. Intent does not have to be established at trial so the aspect of whether or not the driver intended to be reckless is considered to be irrelevant.

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Speeding amounts to a criminal offence when the offender exceeds the legal speed limits. States usually set speeding limits within their territory. In some states the prosecution has to prove the offence of speeding beyond reasonable doubt. In others, the amount of convincing and unambiguous evidence suffices. Intent does not have to be proved because speeding has elements of strict liability. Surpassing the legal speed limits establishes a prima facie case.

Assault refers to the act of unlawfully attacking another person or interfering with another person’s space and is usually considered a misdemeanor. Felony assault is grievous and requires proof of intent, attempt, ability and action.There must be intent and ability to carry out the act unless there is the use of a deadly weapon in which case felony assault is proved automatically. The attempt to commit the act constituting the felon must be illegal. The third component of felony assault is the intent to injure the other party. The fourth requirement is the actual presence of the victims. For assault to amount to felony it must be deliberate and intentional.

Involuntary manslaughter is the act of killing a person unlawfully without presence of mens rea (malice aforethought). It is differentiated from voluntary manslaughter in that those who commit it do not have an intention to kill. It is categorized into criminally negligent manslaughter and constructive manslaughter. Constructive manslaughter occurs when someone without malice aforethought kills in the course of engaging in unlawful act (in this case driving under influence). The malice of commission of the crime is transferred to the resulting death. For constructive manslaughter to suffice the offender must engage in a dangerous unlawful act resulting in the death of the victim.

Operation of the Criminal Justice Process in The Scenario and The Treatment of Deaths Related to DUI in Illinois

Every state has a set breath or blood alcohol beyond which the person responsible for a crash is charged with the crime of Driving under Influence. In most states the BAC is usually set at 0.08%.The sentences for Driving under Influence in most states range from being sentenced to jail, high fines, being placed under a rehabilitation program for people driving under influence or being compelled to install a device that interlocks the ignition.

Upon failure to pass a field sobriety test as happened in Mark’s case the police officer proceeds to make the arrest, the suspect is handcuffed and taken to the police station. The suspect has to be informed about his or her Miranda rights. Miranda rights refer to the rights of suspects in criminal cases that must be read out to them before they are subjected to investigation or questioning. Evidence obtained in contravention of The Miranda Rights is inadmissible in a court of law. The Miranda rights are supposed to protect the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in criminal cases.

According to the Miranda rights, the suspect must be informed of the right to remain silent and that anything he or she says will be used against him or her in court. The suspect must also be informed of his/her right to counsel who should be present during the interrogation, and that if he or she is not in a position to afford counsel, an attorney will be provided for him at state expense. A suspect is however at liberty to waive these rights.

The next step is submitting the suspect to chemical tests which may involve analyzing blood, urine samples or breathe to establish whether the suspect has exceeded the legal alcohol limits. Refusal to submit to a chemical test leads to an automatic charge of Driving under Influence as the act of refusal is in most circumstances termed as admission of guilt. In some states, refusal amounts to revocation of the Driving license regardless of whether the driver is drunk or not. If the Blood Alcohol Content Level is below 0.08% the suspect is released. People with Blood Alcohol Content Levels beyond 0.08% such as Mark whose BAC was 0.21% are then booked into police cells. They are then released on terms of a bail and a date for arraignment in court is set.

In the state of Illinois the crime of Drinking under Influence is charged under section 625 of The Illinois criminal code. The legal limit of blood Alcohol Content in Illinois is 0.08. It does not matter whether the person was sober or intoxicated so long as concentration of blood in the alcohol is 0.08 or more. Most of the States in The United States have set the alcohol limit of 0.08 as an incentive for receiving federal funds to construct highways.  In Illinois, the state does not have to prove that the accused was mentally impaired or that he or she could not exercise the motor skills. As long as the Blood Alcohol Content Limit exceeded 0.08, testimony regarding speed, reckless driving and field sobriety tests is irrelevant.

Deaths related to driving under influence in Illinois have the potential of being categorized as murder. The crime of Aggravated Drunken influence resulting in occurrence of death is categorized as a class 2 felony in the state. If only one person is killed; the accused is sentenced to a sentence that ranges between 3-14 years. For death of two or more the offender serves a sentence of 6 to 28 years. The offender must serve 85% of the imprisonment term without the option of probation.

The "next step" for Mark and his Rights as a Defendant

At the arraignment, Mark should plead not guilty to all the charges. He has the right to appear without an attorney. At all other stages of the trial after arraignment Mark should ensure that he is always accompanied by counsel since the court has appointed a lawyer for him. Mark and his attorney should then decide on whether to accept a plea bargain and have the charges reduced or whether to fight the charges. The chances of winning a trial are very low for a BAC over 0.12% since this standard BAC is 0.08 %. Mark had a BAC of 0.21% therefore it is advisable for him to settle for a plea bargain.

 Plea bargaining involves negotiations between the defense and prosecution aimed at reaching a compromise. Mark and his lawyer should consult an accident reconstruction and adduce evidence that the accident was not the fault of Mark and could have been caused by bad road conditions, the weather or damage to the vehicle. For the felony assault charges, Mark should plead lack of intent to cause bodily harm to his friends. He should also establish that all of them had agreed to binge-drink by consent and they were all drunk.

They may also rely on insufficient evidence if there are no witnesses to corroborate the evidence produced by the police. Mark and his lawyer may rely on the fact that the law enforcement officers breached his constitutional rights and Miranda rights. As a defendant Mark has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, the right to an attorney, the right to trial by a jury, the right to call witnesses and the right to prove his innocence, the right to remain innocent and not to incriminate himself.

The rights of the victims

Victims of Driving under Influence and related crimes have the right to communicate to police officers and law enforcement agencies regarding the accident. They are also entitled to medical help for injuries that are caused by the crash or collision. The victims must be guaranteed contact with the officer investigating the case and must see all reports regarding the case. They must be given notice of the day the defendant is to be arraigned in court. They must be given information regarding the entre trial process including plea bargains, bails or release of the accused. They must be given time to attend court by their employers. They are also entitled to a secure environment when investigations are being carried on at the scene of the crash. The court must also ensure that they are given an opportunity to deliver a victim impact statement.

 Involvement of The Grand Jury

The grand jury has more members than the jury which hears a trial and decides whether or not to issue a criminal indictment. It’s constituted by 16 to 23 members who are unlike members of a trial jury are not vetted. Its role does not extend to determination of innocence or guilt, it merely decides whether there are grounds for a felony charge to be prosecuted. The judge and the defense lawyer do not attend the proceedings of a grand jury and only the prosecutor is allowed to be present. The grand jury would therefore hear evidence before the case is filed in court and before Mark is arraigned.

Code: writers15

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