How do I find an Illinois DUI Lawyer?
The DUI laws of the various states have become much more complex and severe, especially for first time offenders. Illinois is no exception, as it has been on the forefront of increased penalties as well as trying to implement new technology into its laws. The following are the penalties for a first time DUI offense in Illinois:
– Up to 1 year in prison, with additional time if a child is present in the vehicle.
– A one year suspension of driving privileges, unless you install a “Breath Alcohol Interlock Device” in your car, which detects your blood alcohol level before you drive.
– Fines up to $2,500, depending on the severity of the charges and under a judge’s discretion.
Clearly, seeking the help of an Illinois DUI lawyer is necessary in order to try to avoid some of the very serious consequences above. Even if a lawyer cannot get all charges dropped, any type of negotiating on your behalf may help to lessen some of the above consequences.
What to tell your attorney
You will need to tell an Illinois DUI lawyer all about the surrounding circumstances of your arrest. You must provide a detailed account of everything that happened before, during, and after your DUI arrest. Even if you feel something may hurt your case, you should still discuss it with your lawyer. Your lawyer cannot disclose what you say to him or her while consulting with you for legal help, so provide everything you can remember.
Where to look for an attorney
Illinois DUI lawyers are available throughout the state and many will advertise their services in the regions in which they practice. While advertisements may provide you with some basic information, such as the names and locations of available lawyers, you should never rely on them when choosing your lawyer. Advertisements will usually make claims and promises that are exaggerated or just not true. Instead, conduct some of your own research about any lawyer you may decide to hire. Contacting the Illinois State Bar Association can be a good start, as they will provide you with listings and information about qualified Illinois DUI lawyers in your area.
The internet can also provide a great source of information, however it can sometimes be difficult to sort through it. Use this website to search and compare qualified DUI lawyers in your area.
Do I need a specialist?
The laws and criminal procedures that must be dealt for a DUI case in Illinois require focus and specialization by the lawyers who help clients with those legal issues. Specific knowledge of Illinois law, constitutional rights, and local rules are needed before an Illinois DUI lawyer can practice effectively. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you only use the services of experienced DUI lawyers who can protect your rights.
Preparing for an appointment
Before you meet with an Illinois DUI lawyer, prepare any documents that you may have that related to your DUI case. Some examples of important documents include police reports, court papers, medical records, and any other similar documents. While you may not be in possession of all or any of these documents, the quicker your lawyer can view these documents the better your lawyer can work on your case. Besides physical paper work, your own recollection will be the best source of information for your lawyer. Review any specific information that you may know about your case, including dates, times, places, and names that are important. Remember, it is important that you provide all information to your lawyer, even if you don’t believe it will help your case or if you are embarrassed by it.
Come prepared with questions for your lawyer, especially anything that you are particularly concerned or nervous about. Write down any questions you can think of before your meeting, as you may forget them when it comes time to sit down with a lawyer.
Evaluating Experience & Education
All Illinois DUI lawyers must meet the requirements of the state before being allowed to practice. Illinois requires that all lawyers graduate from an accredited United States law school, meet ethical standards, and pass the Illinois Bar Examination which is administered twice a year. These minimal requirements are always necessary for any lawyer, but it is just as important that you seek an experienced lawyer who has the skills and abilities to represent you in your case. A DUI specialist should always be sought for any DUI charges.
To figure out if a lawyer is a DUI specialist, do not rely on their claims in advertisements or their listings. Instead, find out from unbiased sources whether the lawyer has had previous experience representing DUI clients.
Personality & Values
Well experienced Illinois DUI lawyers will have a the knowledge and abilities to get your case through the process with minimal problems. Even if problems arise, they will know how to deal with the problems and protect your interests at all times. DUI representation requires strong negotiation skills and a strong personality, as you will need to legally battle the prosecuting offices. DUI lawyers should be used to fighting against an opponent with unlimited resources while utilizing the minimal resources of a private lawyer.
While most Illinois DUI lawyers are honest and hard working professionals, occasionally there are lawyers who are not honest individuals. Always be cautious when a lawyer begins to act inappropriately. Be wary of unethical behavior, lack of contact, or fees which do not seem reasonable. If you are concerned about your lawyer’s behavior, do not hesitate to contact the Illinois bar association to discuss your options and protect your rights.
Rates, Fees & Retainers
The services of Illinois DUI lawyers will require payments which can sometimes become a significant financial burden. You should expect to pay a DUI lawyer anywhere from $500 to $10,000, which of course will depend on the severity of your charges and whether it is your first offense or not.
Most DUI lawyers will charge a single Flat Fee rate for DUI defense. This will be a one time fee that covers most or all of the lawyer’s representation. These fees are typically used for less serious DUI charges that the lawyer can predict how much work will need to be completed to adequately represent you.
Other DUI lawyers will charge an hourly rate with a required retainer. A retainer is a fee paid at the outset of representation, which will then be deducted as the lawyer completes work and requires defense expenses. These fees can become very large, especially if a lot of legal work needs to be conducted on your behalf.
Always know the rates and fees you will face when hiring an Illinois DUI lawyer and get all agreements in writing.
Interviewing your attorney
Consider the following when speaking with your DUI lawyer:
What should I expect to be the total expense?
What consequences will I be facing?
What consequences can I avoid and can I make a deal to avoid them?
How long do you believe this case will take?
When and how can I contact you?
When will you contact me about updates to my case?
If you are charged with a DUI in Illinois, it is important that you obtain the services of qualified DUI lawyers. Illinois has very serious consequences for violating DUI laws, especially if there are aggravating circumstances, such as having a child present in the car or if you are under aged. First offenders can face up to one year in prison, up to a $2,500 fine, license suspension for up to one year, mandatory community service, and anything else a judge deems as necessary to impose proper punishment.
The legal limit in Illinois is a Blood Alcohol Content of .08, however you can also be arrested for driving under the influence of narcotics or other drugs if a police officer believes it is impairing your ability to safely drive. Considering the seriousness of the above, you must get representation when facing DUI charges in order to give you the best chance to avoid some or all of these consequences.