You were having a good time visiting friends in Illinois when you got pulled over and charged with DUI. Since you live in another state, coming back to Illinois to fight your DUI is a real hassle. Can you afford to ignore the Illinois proceeding?
The short answer is no.
For starters, if you ever intend to return to Illinois, ignoring your DUI can cause you much grief. If you do not appear for your Court date, the Judge can issue a warrant for your arrest, and you could lose whatever bond you may have already paid. If you later return to Illinois and are stopped by police for any reason, you will automatically be taken to jail. If you are arrested on a Friday night, you could spend your whole weekend in jail before a bond hearing is set.
Because you already failed to appear at Court, the Judge could set a much higher bond, which may be difficult for you to meet. And because, in the Court’s view, you have already shown disrespect for the process, the Judge might subject you to higher penalties, such as a larger fine or more time in jail.
Even if you believe you will never return to the state, an arrest warrant issued in Illinois could be enforced against you in your home state. Plus ignoring your Illinois DUI could still affect your license. If you do not appear for your Illinois DUI, the Judge can also enter a conviction against you in your absence. You would then lose any chance you had at contesting the case and possibly winning a dismissal. The State of Illinois can also report any conviction to your home state. http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=062500050HCh%2E+6+Art%2E+VII&ActID=1815&ChapterID=49&SeqStart=85800000&SeqEnd=86800000.
If you are charged with an Illinois DUI, you should contact an experienced attorney immediately. As with other criminal offenses, the State must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced attorney can probe for weaknesses in the state’s case. Did the police have probable cause to stop you or have you take a breathalyzer? Did you show evidence that you were too intoxicated to drive? Even if the evidence against you is strong, an attorney can help you negotiate a better plea agreement than you might get on your own.
If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. email email@example.com
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)