Being charged with DUI is nobody’s idea of a good time. It can be scary, stressful, expensive and a full of hassle. The temptation to enter a guilty plea and “just get it over with” is overwhelming. But it’s a temptation you are wise to resist for a number of reasons.
For one, you may have a fightable case. An experienced attorney should review your case for all of your options. By experienced attorney, we mean one who has taken cases to trial rather than entering a “one size fits all” guilty plea. Avoid attorneys who also “just want to get it over with.”
An attorney should review all the evidence in your case before deciding whether a guilty plea is in your best interests. Did the police have probable cause to stop you? Did they follow correct procedures in administering any field sobriety tests or breathalyzer? Did you perform well on those tests? Do you seem cool and collected on the squad car video? Did your driving show any signs of impairment?
“Well,” you say, “I just want to keep driving and go on with my life.” Understandable. But recognize that the hassle factor does not end with a guilty plea. You will have to take and pay for alcohol counseling classes and a victim impact panel. You may also be fined up to $2,500. In addition, you will pay monthly reporting fees for the term of your sentence. And a DUI is not eligible for expungement or sealing, so it will stay on your police record.
Furthermore, although you swear you will never again get in a car after drinking, that is exactly what many of my clients do. The penalties for a second DUI are stiffer than a first. For one thing, you may lose your license for a longer time. And while a first time DUI is eligible for supervision—which is technically not a conviction–supervision is not an option for any future DUI.
In some cases, an attorney may advise that your best option is a guilty plea. Perhaps you were weaving all over the road, falling down on the walk-and-turn test or talking as though you just woke up from a coma. If so, your attorney may help convince the state why you deserve a more favorable plea agreement than you would get otherwise.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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.)