Hiring a lawyer to represent you in your DUI case is a big decision. Through Cook County, DuPage County, and Kane County are in the top five for Illinois’s most DUI arrests (with 8,446, almost 3,000, and 1,147, respectively), the saturation of criminal defense lawyers in Chicago’s western suburbs can make your decision all the more difficult.
When deciding which lawyer to hire, always keep certain factors in mind. Specifically, research the prospective lawyer’s educational credentials, background, and experience. In DUI cases, it is especially important to hire a lawyer who regularly takes DUI matters to trial and who has significant courtroom experience.
The DuPage, Kane, and Cook County, Illinois, DUI defense lawyers at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., regularly handle DUI matters in the courtroom and take DUI cases to trial. Our experienced legal team knows how to present defenses in a convincing way, increasing your likelihood of obtaining a favorable outcome.
Where to Start
When you are first considering hiring a lawyer for a case in DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, Illinois, you should first do some basic research. For starters, you may want to ask around for attorney recommendations from people whom you trust. Your colleague or friend can give you some advice about what the process entails, how well (or not well) the attorney did, and the ultimate outcome of the case. Your colleague or friend can also give you an idea of how much the attorney charges.
Another good place to start is with a lawyer whom you used in another legal matter. Even if this attorney does not handle DUI matters, he or she probably knows someone from law school or a professional practice who does—and can give you a good recommendation.
Since a DUI is such a sensitive subject, some individuals are embarrassed to seek help from friends or acquaintances. You may also be able to search for a qualified Illinois DUI lawyer through one of the following:
- The Illinois State Bar Association
- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
- The National College of DUI Defense
All of those resources are good starting places when it comes to searching for a qualified, experienced Illinois DUI lawyer to handle your case.
Determining a Prospective Lawyer’s Qualifications
Once you have narrowed your choice down to a few lawyers, you should focus on each lawyer’s individual credentials and experience level. You should also think about whether the lawyer will be a good “fit” for both you and your case. At the most basic level, you should research the prospective attorney’s educational credentials, the attorney’s area of legal practice or specialty, and whether or not the attorney’s law license is in good standing.
Only an attorney who is licensed in Illinois can represent you in a DUI case there. The lawyer’s website will indicate all of the jurisdictions where he or she is licensed to practice law. An out-of-state attorney may bring in co-counsel from Illinois. However, this could cost you more money in the long run. Local attorneys are generally more familiar with the DUI laws in Illinois and have judges and prosecutors in the community who know and respect them. This could ultimately mean a lighter penalty for you—and in some cases, a complete dismissal of your case.
In addition to location, there are other factors you should consider when you set about hiring a DUI lawyer. Those factors include the following:
- Where the lawyer attended law school – In most cases, you want to hire a lawyer who attended a law school that was accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). However, this factor is not necessarily determinative, since many lawyers who have attended less reputable law schools have gone on to excel in their practices.
- The attorney’s experience handling DUI matters – Arguably the most important factor when it comes to hiring a DUI lawyer is the lawyer’s legal training and experience in the field. In most instances, you want a lawyer whose sole (or primary) focus is handling DUI cases. These attorneys have a very thorough understanding of Illinois DUI laws—as well as applicable defenses—and are generally the best equipped to help you in court.
- The attorney’s professional reputation – In addition, when looking at a prospective DUI lawyer, you want to consider his or her professional reputation. In terms of ethics, you will want to make sure that the attorney has not been disbarred and make sure that he or she has a clean disciplinary record. The attorney should also be a member in good standing of the Illinois State Bar Association. It is usually not a good idea to hire a lawyer who exhibits a pattern of legal malpractice.
- The attorney’s fee – Attorney’s fees for DUI cases can range anywhere from $2,500 to upwards of $10,000 per case. As a client or prospective client, the lawyer has a duty to tell you the fees in advance, in the form of a written contract you sign. These fees are negotiable, and the contract should set forth exactly what services are covered (as well as specify additional fees that may be incurred along the way). You should also find out whether the attorney is willing to offer you a payment plan that can make paying these high fees more reasonable and manageable.
Call a DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, Illinois, DUI Defense Lawyer about Your Case
Hiring a good DUI lawyer is probably the single most important step you can take when it comes to obtaining a favorable result in your case. Consequently, you should do a diligent search and weigh all of your available options.
The DuPage, Kane, and Cook County, Illinois, DUI defense lawyers at Martin & Kent, L.L.C., know how time-consuming it can be to find a good DUI lawyer. Our legal team has a stellar reputation in the community and has achieved many successes for past clients. You should feel free to call us and find out how we can assist you.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with an experienced DUI defense lawyer in DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, please call our free 24-hour hotline at (630) 474-8000 today.