In Illinois, the criminal offense of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol comes with serious penalties if you are convicted. Although a DUI, or drunk driving as it is commonly called, may seem like a routine issue that confronts many people, you should not discount how a conviction could impact your life. Shortly after your arrest, the criminal justice system will schedule your court appearance. A lawyer who practices DUI defense can help you prepare for your court dates.
Stiff penalties for DUI
Society has set the goal of stopping people from operating motor vehicles while intoxicated. To get this point across, state law authorizes numerous penalties for DUI, including:
- Large fines
- Jail time
- License suspension
You may think that you have few options for avoiding conviction due to the positive results of chemical testing conducted by police during your arrest. You could shortchange yourself if you plead guilty without the benefit of legal advice concerning your DUI charge. Without legal representation, a court will take your guilty plea and sentence you as the judge sees fit without much regard for any special circumstances or potential violation of your rights.
Benefits of DUI legal representation
When authorities charge you with a criminal offense, you have a right to question the evidence cited against you. A DUI lawyer possesses knowledge of the processes used by police to examine DUI suspects and collect evidence. Any mistakes by law enforcement personnel could improve your legal position, but you would need a defense lawyer to expose the weaknesses in your case, if any exist.
By advocating for your rights, a lawyer may achieve:
- Little to no jail time
- Reduced fines
- Restoration of driving privileges
- Reduced charges
In the best-case scenario, a strong legal defense gets your charges dismissed. Even if charges stand, your defense may convince the court to act leniently.