Can I Get a DUI in Illinois While Operating a Train?

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DuPage County dui lawyer trainsNO! There are a few pieces to this puzzle to determine whether or not someone can be charged with drunk driving while operating a train. The first piece can be found in ILCS under the DUI statute 625 ILCS 5/11-501. However, there is not an explicit mention of this unique scenario in the DUI statute. Some guidance can be found in the Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions. Pattern Jury Instructions are quite a big deal for criminal law practitioners, appellate practitioners, and the judiciary at large. Jury Instructions are a short and sweet reading of what the law IS. During a judge only or bench trials, judges are cognizant of what a jury would be hearing in the jury instructions at the end of the case.

The main Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction on DUIs notes that: A person commits the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol when he or she drives (drove) or is in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Still not enough on what is a vehicle, we have to dig deeper.

Luckily, some guidance can be found in Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction 23.43A, where a vehicle is defined. Here, this situation is a bit more clear: “Every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway or requiring a certificate of title under Section 3-101(d) of this Code, except devices moved by human power, devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks, and snowmobiles as defined in the Snowmobile Registration and Safety Act.” (Emphasis added).

 

Your friendly local train conductor would not be able to get a DUI in Illinois while operating a train because trains are explicitly excluded from the definition of “vehicle.” Regardless of this result, the author of this blog post does not suggest or condone going to the locomotive of a train and cracking open a cold one with the conductor!

Contact a Wheaton DUI defense attorney today by calling our office at 630-665-8780 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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