You are at your first court date for a DUI. You glance nervously about the room and are surprised not to see your arresting officer. Will your case be dismissed if the officer fails to appear?

In Illinois, the answer is almost always no.

When you are charged with a minor traffic ticket, a judge could dismiss your ticket if the officer is not present in court. The reason is because the original court date for a minor offense is considered to be the date set for trial.

A DUI, however, is a Class A misdemeanor. As a result, your first court date is not for trial. Instead, your attorney will file their appearance before the court and ask to see the evidence against you. Barring extraordinary circumstances, it is highly unlikely that the officer’s failure to appear at that first court date will end in dismissal.

While your case won’t be dismissed, the officer’s absence may yet benefit you. It may help you win a hearing to overturn the suspension of your driver’s license, especially if your attorney has timely filed the paperwork necessary to contest the suspension. Therefore, it is essential to contact an attorney as soon after your arrest as possible in order to preserve this possibility.

If you have been charged with DUI or similar offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. Was police questioning proper? Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.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.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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