What Steps Should I Take After Being Released from Custody for A DUI?
For first time offenders, and even for second or third time offenders, the first advice I offer is to relax. Often people have done their own research online for potential penalties for a DUI conviction, and that it is a Class A misdemeanor and they can spend up to 364 days in the Cook County Department of Corrections; and a fine of up to $2,500.00 dollars or any combination of the two.
This is rarely the case.
Most people rarely see jail time outside of situations that involve serious bodily harm or property damage. Next, I would ask them to write everything down that they can remember. There may be specific instances that occurred that are important to the case. How was the weather? Was the pavement wet or icy? Was there something that might have made your field sobriety test difficult? Were you facing the police car while performing the HGN Test? Write down every little detail that you remember.
After that, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. DUI cases are really two cases rolled into one. When the Secretary of State issues the suspension of your license, you could petition the court to have the summary suspension rescinded. This is a separate hearing from the DUI case.
The sooner your attorney can submit that petition to the court, the sooner the clock runs against the state. It is because they are within the statute time limits that the state has to honor. In some cases, if a hearing is not held on the petition to rescind, your summary suspension is automatically revoked and your driving privileges are reinstated, allowing for them to get their license before even a not guilty verdict is levied the actual DUI case.
Do I Really Need an Attorney if I Plan to Plead Guilty to DUI Charges in Illinois?
While you are not required to have a lawyer, it can certainly make the situation a lot easier. It is to your benefit to have an experienced criminal defense attorney standing in your stead for you.
Sometimes, there are technical issues that exist within your specific case that may lead to your charges being reduced or outright dismissed. But you would never know that if on day one you immediately plead guilty to the charge. Especially for individuals facing first time DUI’s, an attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to have your driving privileges reinstated in exchange for an outright guilty plea. Refraining from hiring an attorney, even if you simply plan on pleading guilty, limits your options, which is never advisable.