There are many tactical advantages in obtaining a lawyer prior to your first court date. First and foremost consider the ramifications on your Illinois driving privileges. Once arrested for DUI, you will face a mandatory suspension of your Illinois driver’s license for a minimum of six months to one year for a first offender and a minimum one to three years for multiple offenders. This suspension takes effect on the 46th day from the date your citation was issued. Obtaining an attorney prior to your first court date affords you the best opportunity to rescind the DUI suspension and fully restore your driving privileges, many times before the suspension even takes effect. There are five basic grounds on which your suspension may be rescinded. An experienced attorney can consult with you and quickly assess the chances of successfully rescinding your suspension based on those grounds. In addition to the five grounds for rescission, the State only has a limited time in which to provide you a hearing upon receiving proper notification of your Petition to Rescind. Hiring an attorney before the first court date allow him or her to file a Petition on your behalf, thus putting the State on the clock to provide your hearing even before you step into court the first time.
In addition to quickly and aggressively fighting for your Illinois driving privileges, hiring an attorney before your first court date will help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire prosecution. A first offense DUI is a class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to three hundred sixty four days in jail. The consequences only escalate with other aggravating factors such as accidents with or without injury, driving without a valid driver’s license or having prior DUI convictions. With your liberty at stake, it is crucial that you have someone protecting your rights throughout the process. With a lawyer at your side at the first court date, he or she will be able to obtain police reports and consult with you about the strengths and weaknesses of the State’s case, examine charging documents to detect any technical problems and ensure that your case is resolved quickly and efficiently.