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Things to Know When Hiring an Illinois DUI DWI Attorney



If you've been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you don't have a lot of time to hire a lawyer. But you shouldn't hire just any lawyer. The article condenses what you need to know to hire the right Illinois DUI attorney for you.

According to Illinois DUI law, the penalties for drunken driving are revocation of your Illinois driver's license for at least one year, possible imprisonment, fines, and community service.

The key to finding a good Illinois DUI attorney is in the interviews you conduct before you hire a lawyer. Most DUI attorneys in Illinois are willing to chat with you briefly to introduce themselves and hear about your case.

Your goals for this meeting are to learn about the attorney's background and experience, discuss your legal options, and decide whether this is the Illinois DUI attorney you want to hire.

The criminal justice system can move swiftly compared to civil court where lawsuits are heard. You may not have the luxury of time to interview numerous attorneys. With our tips, however, you still should be able to find the right lawyer for you.

Finding an Illinois DUI Attorney

You have several ways to find a recommended Illinois DUI attorney. You can canvas your friends, family members, and business colleagues to see if they have ever hired an Illinois DUI lawyer. If they have, you'll want to know about their experience. Did their lawyer do a good job? Was the advice good? Did the strategy work? Would they hire the same lawyer again if needed?

If you'd rather not discuss your recent arrest with people you know, you can use the resources here at Attorneys.com. Whether you live in Chicago, Springfield, Peoria, Joliet, or elsewhere in Illinois, we offer a service that can connect you to an Illinois DUI attorney in your area.

Call 1-877-913-7222 or fill out the short form on this website to start the process. After answering a few questions, we'll send you the name of at least one Illinois DUI lawyer near you.

You may call the lawyer yourself or he or she will get back to you within two business days.

Interviewing Illinois DUI Lawyers

You want your Illinois DWI attorney to have a lot of experience representing clients with charges similar to your own. When you first meet with attorneys you're considering hiring, ask how often they have represented clients charged with DWI in Illinois.

It may also help you to have an attorney who has worked often in the same courthouse where your case will be heard. An Illinois DWI attorney with a good reputation among courthouse personnel and the prosecuting attorney's office may open doors for you where others could not.

Options & Strategies

The Illinois DUI attorneys you meet will ask you specific questions about your arrest. They'll want to understand what happened and the evidence against you.

Unless the prosecution drops the charges against you, you are looking at three legal options: plead guilty, try to negotiate a plea bargain which would have you pleading guilty to a lesser charge, or plead not guilty and go to trial. Have the lawyers review the consequences of each option.

Also ask the lawyers how they would handle your case. You may have more Illinois DUI defenses than you realized. Strategy is case-specific and cannot be generalized here. So, seek input from the lawyers you meet.

Legal Fees

At this point, you're probably wondering what your defense will cost. DUI lawyers in Illinois generally use two types of billing methods: The hourly fee and the flat fee. They work as you'd imagine, either charging by the hour or one flat price for the lawyer's time.

Your final legal tab, however, will include many more line items than just the lawyer's time. You will likely pay for other, related legal expenses, such as:

  • Photocopying
  • A paralegal's time
  • The cost of hiring an investigator
  • The cost of hiring an expert witness
  • Travel expenses
  • Court fees

Be sure to ask the Illinois DUI lawyers you meet how much these other expenses could total.

Rates among DUI lawyers in Illinois tend to be competitive. However, if you have an arraignment approaching, time is not on your side. You can ask a lawyer to reduce his or her fees, however, only before you hire someone. After you hire a lawyer, it is too late to renegotiate lower rates.

Finally, don't forget to ask the attorneys which kinds of payment they accept and whether they offer payment plans.

Subjective Qualities

Beyond the objective qualities in an attorney-experience, advice, strategy, and legal fees-you also need to consider how you feel about each Illinois DUI attorney you meet. You may work closely with your lawyer for several months. You want to like and trust him or her.

Ask yourself if the lawyer is patient with you. Do you have confidence in the lawyer's advice and judgment? Do you feel comfortable with this attorney?

Choosing an Illinois DUI Attorney

After you have completed all your interviews, it's time to choose one to represent you. Evaluate each one using the criteria above: experience, strategy, legal fees, and how you felt with each.

If you only met with one, but the lawyer measures up, your search is complete. If you can't decide between two or more lawyers, tell them you'd like to contact a few previous clients. Then call those clients to find out what it was really like working with their lawyers. Ask the same kinds of questions suggested above for friends and family members who may have hired an Illinois DUI attorney.

The feedback you receive should help you narrow the field to your very best candidate. When you have hired your Illinois DUI lawyer, you are ready to face the rest of your prosecution.