States Look to Impose Stricter DUI Penalties

In Illinois, State senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield), has introduced Senate Bill 1405, also called “Lindsey’s Law”. The motivating factor being this legislator’s desire to toughen law for impaired drivers who kill and injure others is the death of a Springfield woman in 2015. The bill would allow authorities to charge intoxicated drivers with a Class 2 felony if they kill someone while also causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement of others while driving a motor vehicle, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, or watercraft. A Class 2 felony is punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than four years and not more than 20 years.

26 year old Lindsey Sharp was hit and killed by a drunken driver in the parking lot of a Springfield Walmart in June 2015. In her memory, McClure has introduced the legislation more than once. “I am doing this for Lindsey’s mom. For her, this is personal. Lindsey’s son, who was severely injured, and her boyfriend, received no justice. It’s wrong for the second and third victims to not get justice,” McClure said. “This issue is being driven by her family; it’s not something I just thought up. We will keep fighting for it and hopefully it will pass this session,” McClure said. “It’s important to them and they want to see a horrible situation made as right as it can be.” 

McClure has passed the same bill on at least 3 separate occasions, in hopes of honoring Lindsey’s life. Each time, according to McClure, the bill gets bottled up in committee. The latest version of the bill was referred to the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety. “If it were called to committee, I believe it would pass. This is a common sense bill. I believe there is wide support for it, but the problem is getting it out of committee and if you have one person who doesn’t want something out of committee, they will hold it up,” McClure said.

In West Virginia, lawmakers are also seeking harsher DUI penalties. Three West Virginia state delegates introduced House Bill 3302 on Monday, January 6 to recognize an embryo or fetus as a distinct unborn victim for the offense of DUI causing death. The bill was introduced by delegates Westfall, Burkhammer and Pinson. The bill, in part, is called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. 

The proposed bill states that “Any person who drives a vehicle in this state while he or she is in an impaired state, and such impaired state proximately causes the death of any person, including an embryo or fetus as defined in §61-2-30 of this code, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than three nor more than 15 years and shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $3,000, and shall have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle revoked by the Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles for a period of 10 years or for a period of time conditioned on participation in the test and lock program in accordance with §17C-5A-3a of this code.”


What Are Mississippi’s DUI Penalties for Injury or Death Laws?  

 We should first look to the Mississippi code to determine what “driving under the influence” really means. The statute makes clear that in Mississippi it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, under the influence of any other substance that has impaired the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle, under the influence of any controlled substance, or has a blood alcohol or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 and above. Note that there are no exceptions for legal prescriptions in the driver’s name and that driver may still be found to be under the influence of their legal prescription even if they have a bac of below 0.08. According to the Mississippi code, any person driving under the influence that negligently causes a serious injury or death to another may be sentenced to prison for a minimum of five years and a maximum of twenty-five years for each person injured or killed. 

What Should You Do If You Are Charged with A Crime Like This?  

If you have been searching the Mississippi area for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney, look no further than Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. over the years, we have helped numerous defendants pursue favorable outcomes. Although being accused of a DUI resulting in injury or death is not a pleasant experience, there are many potential defense strategies that can be used to defend and lessen the effects of this type of case. Call us today for your free consultation to learn more and get started. Please also see us on and view our reviews on,, and Our office phone number is (601) 948-4444 option 1.  

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