Whether you were caught driving your vehicle with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or arrested for being too impaired by medication to drive a motor vehicle safely, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs charges are serious charges in Illinois. Criminal penalties for drunk driving are typically two-fold: both criminal and administrative--where you lose your driving privileges besides heavy fines and jail time. But you don’t have to go through the complicated legal process alone. An experienced attorney can help you understand drunk driving laws in Illinois, the facts of your DUI case, and any potential defense strategies that may be available to you.
If you aren’t familiar with how to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, here is a good place to start. Below, you will find potential questions to ask a DUI attorney at your first meeting. Interview many attorneys and compare. Always look up your prospective DUI criminal defense lawyer on your state bar association’s website. At Tommalieh Law, our experienced Orland Park criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience helping DUI offenders beat their DUI charges and we can help you, too. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, contact our Orland Park criminal defense law firm today at (708) 232-0017.
What Questions Should I Ask a DUI Lawyer?
Potential attorney interview questions include:
What Is Your Legal Background?
One of the most crucial sets of questions to ask a potential attorney is about their background and legal experience. For example, is this the lawyer’s first DUI case, or have they handled many DUI cases in the past? The more experienced the lawyer is, the higher the odds of a favorable outcome.
Some specific questions a potential lawyer regarding their background include:
- How long have you been representing drunk driving clients?
- How many driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol cases do you handle in a year?
- Are you a former drunk driving prosecutor?
- How often do you take intoxicated driving cases to trial?
- Are you familiar with the prosecutor in my impaired driving case?
- Do you normally practice in my state or county?
Do You Specialize in Drunk Driving Law?
While a general practice attorney may also practice DUI, it's in your best interest to work with a lawyer who specializes in DUI law. That's because a lawyer who practices specifically in drunk driving law will have special training or advanced certification in drunk driving law that provides them specific knowledge on technical elements of a drunk driving charge. For instance, a DUI criminal defense attorney may be more familiar with associated intoxicated driving charges to a lesser degree, such as a wet reckless charge.
Some good questions to ask a potential lawyer to see whether they have specialized training in DUI law include:
- What percentage of your caseload is dedicated to drunk driving charges?
- Is a plea agreement possible in my case? How about a motion like a pre-trial motion to suppress the evidence against me?
- Are you certified by any drunk driving organizations, including any state bar organization or The National College for DUI Defense (NCDD)?
- Do you have a working relationship with the blood test and Breathalyzer toxicologists? Do you understand alcohol toxicology?
- Have you completed the Instructor Standardized Field Sobriety Test courses and/or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) Student?
Learn More: When Should You Hire a DUI Lawyer?
Right away, ask about attorney fees. Now is the time to ask about payment plans and how often, and when, you'll be billed. Most DUI criminal defense lawyers offer a no-cost initial consultation, but be sure to ask about payment terms before your first meeting. Also, ask the following questions:
- Besides your standard rate, are there any extra fees will I need to pay, such as blood sample re-testing expenses and expert witness fees?
- What payment options do you accept?
DUI criminal defense lawyers, like other attorneys, don’t have a magic crystal ball. Even if an experienced DUI lawyer can’t guarantee the outcome of your DUI case, they can predict potential outcomes depending on the unique circumstances of your DUI case and their own special training and legal expertise with drunk driving laws. So, it's essential to ask your DUI lawyer these questions:
- Is a plea agreement an option?
- What benefits me and what works against me?
- Should I take my case to trial?
Who Will Be Handling My Case?
Another fundamental thing to ask a potential Orland Park DUI lawyer is who you'll be working with throughout the course of your DUI case. Larger law firms may delegate paralegals or junior associates to help you in your drunk driving case, and these could be the only people you'll be communicating with. It's essential to be working with a competent attorney, including a lead attorney of a smaller law firm. These legal experts have concrete experience and a client-focused approach that'll be valuable to your case, especially in your ability to communicate directly with them throughout your DUI case.
Some questions to ask include:
- Whom will I be working with?
- Who will answer my queries and calls?
- Do I communicate with you via email, phone calls, or text?
Be Prepared: How to Find the Right DUI Lawyer
What Type of Investigation Will You Conduct in My DUI Case?
A thorough investigation in a drunk driving case involves a complete review of all evidence and documents produced to support the DUI charges against you. These documents may include witness statements, police reports, and blood test or Breathalyzer results. An experienced DUI criminal defense attorney will probably spend a significant amount of their time reviewing every detail of the events that occurred leading up to and during your drunk driving arrest. This type of thorough investigation can help your attorney evaluate the evidence against you and develop a defense strategy that may help you beat your DUI charges.
What are the Potential Criminal Penalties for a DUI Conviction in My Circumstances?
In recent years, the criminal penalties for a drunk driving conviction have become harsher as legislators seek to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related offenses and DUI-related crashes that often lead to severe bodily injury or death.
Thus, criminal penalties for even a first-time DUI conviction, for instance, may include license suspension, installation of a breath alcohol ignition interlock device for a period of time, probation, hefty fines, jail sentence, or completion of counseling sessions or alcohol treatment program.
How Will it Take for My DUI Case to be Resolved?
Typically, the length of your intoxicated driving case from a DUI arrest to the final resolution could be a few months. While impaired driving cases move more quickly through the legal system than other types of cases, certain legal complexities or other aggravating factors in your case might cause it to take more time. If a DUI case goes to trial, then it's likely to take a long time to be resolved because the case will have to be scheduled on the court’s calendar for a court trial.
Contact Our Seasoned Orland Park DUI Criminal Defense Lawyers Today for Legal Advice!
If you are facing a drunk driving charge in Illinois, contact Tommalieh Law for legal representation. We specialize in DUI law, which means you'll be represented by an experienced attorney who has a deep understanding of the DUI system and who can effectively develop a vigorous defense against your charges, whether to mitigate or dismiss your case entirely. Let one of our experienced DUI lawyers provide you with the legal counsel you need in whatever DUI-related offense you're facing. Contact Tommalieh Law today at (708) 232-0017 to schedule a free case review!