Facing charges for drunk driving can be stressful and terrifying, especially for first-time offenders. The traffic court system in Illinois is large, complicated, and intimidating. Facing these courts without a proper team on your side can cause problems for yourself and your case. For those who have clean driving records, the thought of losing your license or having it suspended can add even more stress beyond just dealing with the courts. There are also heavy fines associated with DUIs in Illinois, as Illinois believes that harsh punishments deter repeat offenders.
Facing these problems with a team of experienced and passionate attorneys on your side, however, can help remove all of the stress off of your shoulders, improve the odds of your case, and see you back on the road as soon as possible. At DUI Lawyers 24/7, we dedicate all of our time and knowledge to helping our clients fight against too harsh, unfair, or unwarranted DUI and traffic charges. We know the system in and out and have years of combined experience, making us the perfect choice for any of your DUI or traffic problems in Illinois.
Do You Need a Lawyer For a DUI Charge?
You do not have to hire an attorney if you have been arrested for, or charged with, driving under the influence of alcohol. You have the right, in the United States, to competent counsel, but you also have the right to represent yourself if you wish. Many people choose to become self-represented defendants to save money, but this puts so much at risk for your case.
You also miss out on the expertise of someone who works on cases like yours every single day. There are benefits to hiring a DUI attorney that can make it worth it when it comes time for your sentencing, and know when and how to file waivers or paperwork for fighting your automatic suspension or asking for reduced fees.
Lawyers don't simply show up at court and argue your case. When hiring an attorney, they take care of virtually every part of your case for you. They file paperwork on your behalf, gather evidence, create your defense, and communicate with the prosecution and the judge, all on top of fighting for you. With an experienced attorney on your side, you'll need to do nothing more than show up on time for court. They also can give you a realistic outcome for your case, based on their experiences with cases similar, so that you are able to prepare properly for your sentencing and complete that sentence.
You also may need a lawyer if you're facing charges beyond a simple DUI charge. If you were involved in an accident resulting in your DUI arrest, have been charged with reckless driving, or any other criminal offenses, you may be facing years of jail time and thousands in fines. Having the proper team and criminal defense attorney on your side will help clear your criminal record.
Learn More: What Does a DUI Lawyer Do?
How Can a DUI Attorney Help in Court?
One of the biggest reasons to have an attorney on your side is for plea deals. Plea deals are made between the prosecutor and the defendant, or the defendant's legal representation. These deals involve the defendant pleading a certain way, normally guilt, in order to receive certain perks or a lessened sentence.
For example, if you have been charged with a DUI and are facing time in jail, to avoid a trial the prosecution may offer no jail time and alcohol treatment instead if you plead guilty. A plea bargain normally only happens when you have legal representation for two different reasons. First, you are more likely to win a court case or trial if you have legal representation, making it more attractive for the prosecution to avoid trial, and second, these plea deals are normally negotiated between your attorney and the prosecution, who you are not able to meet with.
When you have legal representation on your side, you also have access to their knowledge and experience. Not only their experience with the law, but also with the court system you are with, the judge that will be presiding over your case, and the prosecutors who are arguing against you. This can result in what may seem like small details and changes having huge impacts on your case.
An experienced Illinois DUI defense attorney will know what you should wear, what you should and shouldn't say, even when you should actually arrive at the airport for your case. They will also be able to help you apply for any driving waivers to receive your driving privileges back or apply for any types of ignition interlock devices.
And the best perk gained from hiring a defense attorney? The likelihood of your charges being dropped altogether raises significantly. With excellent counsel on your side, they know how to do things like filing motions to have evidence thrown out, and building a proper defense to argue the case against you.
Oftentimes, having evidence thrown out of the court or the proper defense being used to create reasonable doubt in your favor are all that's needed to cut holes in the story against you, resulting in severely reduced sentencing, and sometimes dropped charges. This could mean avoiding expensive fines, criminal charges, license suspensions, and time behind bars.
Getting your charges reduced or dropped can also affect your insurance premiums. Persons with DUIs or other extreme traffic offenses on their driving record tend to be offered much higher insurance premiums than those with clean records, and having your case dismissed or dropped by the court will help your insurance premiums return back to what they were before your arrest.
Will Not Getting an Attorney Hurt My Case?
The short answer is: not always. While hiring an attorney will always help your case, not hiring an attorney doesn't always harm it. There are situations, however, where not having proper legal advice and expertise on your side can be harmful to your case. The best rule of thumb is simple: if you are facing any jail time, you should always hire an attorney.
There are some cases where not having an attorney can affect your case negatively. If the state or county is cracking down on DUIs, for example, this could mean receiving a maximum sentence automatically if you are found guilty, or plead guilty. The more complicated your drink driving case, the more likely you are to need an attorney.
If your blood alcohol level is below or just at the legal limit, you may be unaware of ways to have your charges dropped. Anything below the legal limit can not be charged as a DUI, though it may be charged as reckless driving. You can also be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, in which case you will absolutely need an attorney on your side.
How Much Does a DUI Attorney Cost?
There are two mainstream ways to pay a criminal defense lawyer or DUI attorney. The first is a flat DUI fee. This fee is used for simple cases that are not likely to go to a full trial. These flat fees depend on how complicated your case is. These flat fee rates are normally only offered in simpler cases that do not go to trial.
For more complicated or serious cases, you will normally only be offered an hourly rate. These hourly rates vary from lawyer to lawyer and are based on experience and expertise. These hourly rates can range anywhere from $200 an hour to $500 an hour. The average spent on hourly rates tends to be between $1300 to $2000. For longer trials or more serious cases, such as an aggravated DUI or felony DUI, this number can reach over $10,000.
You also have the legal option of asking the court for a court-appointed attorney. If you qualify for a court-appointed attorney and request one, you will be assigned an attorney by the court. You will not be able to pick your attorney, but you can be assured that court-appointed attorneys are extremely passionate about their jobs.
A con of using a court-appointed attorney is that they tend to be extremely overworked and have very heavy caseloads. While they are extremely talented attorneys, they are human and when you are experiencing an overload of work, some things may get overlooked.
We're Here to Help!
If you have been arrested for, or are facing charges for, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Illinois, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better. No matter if it's your first DUI, or you have multiple other DUI or driving-related charges, our experienced Kane County DUI attorneys are here to help. With years of combined experience on our team, you let our knowledge, extensive experience, and passion for the law in Illinois work to your advantage.
When you're ready to hire a criminal defense attorney, call us to set up your free consultation. During your initial consultation, we'll research your case, review all of the evidence available, and give you realistic ideas of the outcomes for sentencing, lawyer fees, and the future. The last step is to build and sculpt the perfect defense, tailor-made for you and your case. We know that mistakes happen, let us help you get back behind the wheel, and back on the road.