A woman in Illinois is facing multiple charges for aggravated DUI after hitting a mother and her two children with her car, killing one child. 19 year old Carly Rousso id being charged with four counts of aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating compounds and two counts of reckless homicide for the accident she allegedly caused due to difluoroethaneimpairment. Difluoroethane is a substance found in aerosols like computer cleaner that can be inhaled by a person in a form of drug abuse called “huffing”. If she is convicted, she could face up to 26 years in jail.
Now her attorney is questioning the constitutionality of her charge since difluoroethane is not a known drug and is not listed in Illinois law. Instead, the law uses language that implies anything that causes impairment can be considered a drug. Her attorney is arguing that this is too vague and there is no hard evidence to prove that difluoroethane actually causes impairment. They have requested more time in preparing their argument.
It will be interesting to see how this case plays out. While the idea that all drugs capable of causing DUI should be spelled out in the law is unrealistic, Rousso's attorneys may be successful in this case, especially if there are not a lot of scientific information about how difluoroethane affects a brain.
In California, under vehicle code section 312, drug is defined as:
any substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, which could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair, to an appreciable degree, his ability to drive a vehicle in the manner that an ordinarily prudent and cautious man, in full possession of his faculties, using reasonable care, would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions.
This definition is also broad, and may lead to a similar defense if a suspect was charged with DUI for huffing. This case is receiving national attention and the ruling may set a standard for other states to follow in the future.