New Sentencing Credit law means more prison time for drunk drivers

Updated on 6/25/12:  After some email correspondence with DuPage Attorney Donald Ramsell, I am correcting this posting.  I misread the 85% rule to apply to all felony DUIs.  As Don pointed out, under the new “good time” statute, most people who have been convicted of an aggravated DUI will still be eligible for “day for day credit.” However, anyone convicted of aggravated DUI involving great bodily harm or death will only be eligible for 4.5 days of credit per month (i.e., 15%).  __________________________________________________

Under the new sentencing credit legislation, now signed by Governor Quinn, most inmates can receive up to 180 days credit, so long as they enroll in certain education and life skills courses, and don’t have a criminal background involving violent crimes.

However, these new rules won’t apply to many violent offenses, such as first degree murder, solicitation of murder, solicitation of murder for hire, intentional homicide of an unborn child, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated sexual assault criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery with a firearm, heinous battery, being an armed habitual criminal, aggravated battery of a senior citizen or a child, home invasion, armed robbery, aggravated vehicular hijacking, aggravated discharged of a firearm, armed violence, gunrunning, narcotics, racketeering, controlled substance trafficking, methamphetamine trafficking, drug-induced homicide, aggravated methamphetamine-related child endangerment, money laundering, second offense of luring a child, or aggravated DUI involving great bodily harm or death. All these offenses are limited to either no credit or 4.5 days credit per month.

Now, when you look at that list of offenses, which one doesn’t belong?

Here is the section of the new law that I am referring to:

(2.3) The rules and regulations on early release
shall provide that a prisoner who is serving a sentence for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof as defined in subparagraph (F) of paragraph (1) of subsection (d) of Section 11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, shall receive no more than 4.5 days of good conduct credit for each month of his or her sentence of imprisonment.

The DUI section referred to above is Subsection 11-501(d)(1)(F), which states:

the person, in committing a violation subsection (a), was involved in a motor vehicle, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, or watercraft accident that resulted in the death of another person, when the violation of subsection (a) was a proximate cause of the death...

I don’t want to minimize the conduct of someone who causes great bodily injury or death by driving drunk.  However, I believe that such conduct typically occurs out of reckless or compulsive behavior.  That is not something that can typically be said for kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault or gunrunning.

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