At Naperville DUI Lawyer, our DUI defense attorneys are dedicated to offering high-quality legal representation to clients in DuPage County, Cook County, and throughout Illinois charged with drunk driving offenses, traffic tickets, criminal offenses, and other related legal matters. Our criminal defense law firm also focuses on driver’s license law, representing those seeking the reinstatement of their driving privileges before the Illinois Secretary of State.
From misdemeanor DUI offenses and felony DUI charges to the most complex license reinstatement hearings, we are committed to providing excellent legal services to our clients. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our criminal defense law firm today at (630) 425-0250.
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How Can an Illinois DUI Lawyer Help Your Case?
Intoxicated driving is a crime in every state. Thus, drunk driving charges are handled in criminal courts, and these charges carry potentially hefty fines and severe criminal penalties. You can choose to represent yourself in the criminal court. But most DUI offenders either hire a private attorney or are represented by a public defender appointed by the court.
It’s difficult for someone with no legal expertise or training to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a DUI case. DUI law is complex and constantly changing, and the facts of every drunk driving case are unique. So, getting the opinion of an experienced DUI criminal defense lawyer is valuable.
Most DUI attorneys give potential clients a free consultation. However, even if you have to pay a small legal fee, it's money well spent. To make the best use of your time, bring your police report and any other relevant paperwork you have for the consultation. Also, it’s essential to bring a list of questions you want to be answered.
You need not hire the DUI attorney you consult with. But face-to-face meetings are a good way to assess whether things could work out with the DUI attorney you’re thinking of hiring.
When you hire a private DUI defense attorney, he or she will represent you in DMV proceedings and criminal court. Having the same attorney work on both aspects of your DUI case can lead to favorable outcomes, including a shorter driver’s license suspension period.
Most DUI offenders see the cost of hiring an experienced attorney as the major drawback with private lawyers. Typically, hiring a private DUI lawyer will cost you between $1,000 and $5,000. And if your DUI case goes to trial, it will be more expensive. But there are DUI cases where hiring a private lawyer won’t get you a better outcome than had you gone with a public defender.
However, hiring a DUI lawyer if you can afford is a worthwhile option. Obviously, when you’re hiring an attorney, you get to decide which attorney to hire. Often, lawyers who specialize in drunk driving cases have a thorough understanding of drunk driving law and defenses that other attorneys don’t have. Sometimes, this legal expertise can lead to a positive outcome and even a better plea deal or dismissal of the drunk driving charges altogether.
Further, hiring a DUI private lawyer can reduce the time you have to spend in court. Sometimes, public defender clients must appear for all court hearings. However, with private counsel, you rarely have to be present for court appearances. For many defendants, especially busy professionals, not having to miss work to go to court is a tremendous bonus.
Another pro of hiring a private DUI attorney is you’ll get more one-on-time than you would with a public defender. Most people are more comfortable with their DUI case once all their questions are answered and their concerns addressed.
Though you’re entitled to self-representation in a DUI trial, it’s never a good idea. Because the learning curve for trial practice is steep. And it comes only with extensive experience. A lack of legal expertise and trial skills will put you at a significant disadvantage in court. Normally, judges have no patience for self-represented defendants who don’t know the rules of court. So, don’t try a DUI case on your own, especially if you’re going to trial, hire an experienced attorney to represent you.
What Can a DUI be Reduced To?
Most intoxicated driving cases are resolved through plea bargaining. This means that the defendant pleads guilty or “no contest” to a criminal charge in exchange for leniency from the prosecution. For example, driving under the influence plea bargain may involve a DUI offender pleading guilty to a DUI charge in exchange for the prosecutor agreeing to jail time and fines that are below the allowable maximums.
Other times, a plea bargain may involve the prosecutor dismissing the drunk driving charge and the defendant pleading to a lesser charge. If such a plea bargain is for a reckless driving charge, it’s also called a “wet reckless.”
Typically, the prosecution will offer a wet reckless only in DUI cases with significant weakness in the evidence or those with mitigating factors. Mitigating factors are things such as:
The person having no previous criminal record, and
A low blood alcohol concentration.
However, aggravating factors can reduce your chances of getting a wet reckless plea deal. For instance, prosecutors aren’t willing to reduce DUI charges in DUI cases involving motor vehicle accidents and physical injuries.
When there are problems with the evidence against you, prosecutors worry about whether they can prove the DUI charges against you in court. Instead of risking a loss at trial, a prosecutor may offer a DUI offender a favorable plea deal, such as a wet reckless. Evidentiary matters come in lots of varieties. However, often, these legal issues are related to uncertainty about being able to prove the offender’s blood alcohol content.
Could the Illinois Secretary of State Deny My Driving Privileges?
The Secretary of State’s office has adopted technical and complicated rules which they use to grant or deny driving privileges. Not abiding by any of these rules may cause a denial of your application. Most of these hearings are adversarial, which means they’re contested. During a formal hearing, you’re placed under oath and subject to cross-examination by an attorney representing the Secretary of State’s office. Also, you’re subject to further questioning by a hearing officer.
Your request might be denied if your testimony doesn’t satisfy the hearing officer. Also, your request may be denied if your testimony is inconsistent with the information in your alcohol/drug evaluation and/or with the facts and circumstances of your DUI arrest or your alcohol/drug use history.
Further, your request may be denied even if your testimony is consistent with the alcohol/drug evaluation and other paperwork you presented to the hearing officer, if the hearing officer believes that the information is inconsistent with your drunk driving arrest history, results of any chemical tests, including breath test or any other information.
Finally, your request may be denied if the hearing officer believes that the information provided at the time of the hearing shows ongoing alcohol or drug abuse problem or that you don’t show a sufficient hardship. However, having a skilled Illinois DUI lawyer by your side can increase your chances of getting your request accepted.
How Do I Prove that I’m not a Risk to Public Safety?
During a driver's license reinstatement hearing, the Secretary of State’s office considers many factors in determining if a DUI offender is a risk. For instance, the State will consider an alcohol/drug evaluation and any drug abuse treatment documentation completed by a State-licensed program, character reference letters, and in some situations support group letters and your testimony before a Secretary of State hearing officer.
The alcohol/drug evaluation and your testimony address issues including the facts and circumstances of your DUI arrest, which includes why you were pulled over by a police officer, your perception of whether you were impaired, how much you drank, your alcohol/drug use history, the results of any alcohol/drug breath, blood or urine tests, whether your treatment adequately addressed any underlying reasons for alcohol and/or drug abuse, the reasons you would drink or use drugs in the past, any support group involvement such as AA, NA or non-traditional support group, the lifestyle changes you have made, and other previous drunk driving-related offenses.
Also, the secretary of State’s office may consider other factors in both alcohol/drug and non-substance abuse cases these may include criminal history, your overall driving record including previous moving violations, and car accidents.
Contact Our Cook County Criminal Defense Lawyers Today for Legal Advice!
Being charged with DUI or having to face a hearing for a traffic law violation in Illinois is stressful. Many people use their cars to get to and from medical appointments, work, or school. The Illinois Secretary of State has the jurisdiction to suspend or revoke a driver’s license for many reasons such as accumulating too many traffic violations, not paying a traffic ticket, and not paying child support.
Also, you can face license suspension or revocation for a DUI conviction. A driver’s license suspension has a set end date, where you can get back your driving privileges. However, with the driver’s license revocation, you lose your driving privileges for an indefinite period. Chicago driver’s license reinstatement attorneys at Naperville DUI Lawyer have a well-earned reputation for providing outstanding legal representation in matters related to drunk driving, traffic offense, and driver's license hearings throughout Illinois.