When you’re facing DUI charges in Illinois, there’s one thing you can do that can have a huge impact on the outcome of your case: choose the right lawyer.
Still, many people are unsure of where to even begin looking for an attorney to represent them when the need arises. Luckily, finding a great DUI defense attorney doesn’t have to be as difficult as one might think.
Here are a few things you should be on the lookout for when selecting the right DUI defense attorney in Illinois and some common DUI defenses they may utilize in court on your behalf.
Finding a DUI Defense Attorney in Illinois: Where To Start
Not many people have a lawyer on retainer to call up when they’re needed, so when you’re in search of one for a DUI arrest, you may not know where to start. Ask friends and family if they have any recommendations for an attorney they’ve used and had success with. Even colleagues at work may be able to help.
If you’ve used a lawyer for other legal issues, then you can ask them as well. If they don’t handle matters relating to DUIs, then they can often point you in the direction of someone they know professionally who does.
Since DUIs tend to be sensitive matters, you may not want to ask around. That’s OK. You check with the Illinois State Bar Association, the National College of DUI Defense, or the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for an attorney in your area that deals with DUIs.
Is This Illinois Attorney Qualified?
Once you have a few prospective lawyers to choose from in your case, you should narrow down your choices by focusing on their experience and credentials.
Only a lawyer who is licensed in Illinois can represent you in an Illinois courtroom, so check that first. They can let you know if your case is within their jurisdiction. Also take a look at their education, specialty areas of legal practice, and whether their law license is in good standing.
Look at where they went to law school and make sure it’s a school accredited by the American Bar Association. Also, make sure they have experience dealing with DUI matters and a good professional reputation. Finally, ask about their fees and make sure you can afford their services. There is a range in what lawyers charge so no two lawyers may be alike in cost.
Common DUI Defenses
Once you’ve secured the right attorney to represent you, then you can begin to build a defense against your DUI. Some of the most common defenses used by attorneys in DUI cases include:
Improper Stop By Police
Police cannot simply pull over private citizens or arbitrarily stop them without reasonable suspicion. Under the Constitution, and further defined by the Supreme Court of the United States, they must have specific grounds to suspect someone is engaged in criminal activity.
So police must see you do something wrong in order to be pulled over for a DUI. If there was nothing, then this is a good defense.
Field Sobriety Test Protocol Not Followed
Law enforcement must follow certain rules when performing a field sobriety test. Not doing so means that the evidence gathered during the test may not be admissible in court.
If you suffer from a medical condition that creates the appearance of drunkenness or can skew the results of a breathalyzer test, then that may be presented in court as a proper defense.
When charged with a DUI you need the best defense you can get. An experienced Illinois DUI attorney will review your case, and evaluate the unique circumstances surrounding your charges in order to develop a sound defense. Often the right strategy will involve one or more of the following elements outlined in this article today.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.