Bloomington IL DUI lawyer
Our Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols has represented many drivers who were charged with one form of a DUI or another. Though motor vehicle laws can be confusing, it’s important to understand how a DUI is handled by the state based on the variables of the circumstances under which a driver is arrested. A common question asked of our DUI lawyer is, “Is a DUI a Felony or a Misdemeanor?” The answer depends on the below factors, and our DUI lawyer in Bloomington, Illinois can make this clearer.
State Laws and Mitigating Factors
Laws regarding DUIs vary from state to state, as does each state’s sentencing restrictions and criminal statutes. In many instances, when a person is arrested for driving under the influence and there are no mitigating factors and they have no prior convictions for a DUI, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. Our DUI lawyer serving Bloomington, IL shares examples of mitigating factors which may escalate the charge to a felony include:
- The defendant has one or more prior convictions for a DUI.
- The defendant hurt or killed someone while driving under the influence. This is sometimes referred to as “bodily harm” and is more than likely going to escalate the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.
- The defendant has a history of alcohol or drug abuse, or was intoxicated far above the legal maximum blood alcohol content.
- The defendant had a minor-aged passenger in their vehicle at the time they were pulled over. A DUI lawyer in Bloomington, IL wants you to know that this may result in a mandatory felony DUI charge.
- The defendant was in the midst of committing an additional crime when they were DUI. This can include driving recklessly, speeding away from the scene of a crime they committed while under the influence, etc.
- The defendant was driving on a restricted, revoked, or suspended license.
What happens if I have a previous DUI conviction?
Your Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer can advise you as to how your case may be affected by a previous criminal record, but here are some general guidelines:
- When the defendant has one or more previous convictions, they are more likely to be charged with a felony DUI for the current circumstances.
- When the defendant was driving under the influence, their driver’s license had already been revoked or otherwise restricted and as a result, they were driving illegally even without being under the influence.
If you have any further questions on how a DUI can change from a misdemeanor to a felony, speak with a DUI lawyer Bloomington, Illinois residents trust.
What is an alcohol evaluation?
If the prosecutor or judge suspects that you may have a drinking problem, and you are convicted of a DUI, you may be ordered to attend an alcohol evaluation. Your DUI lawyer Bloomington, IL trusts can inform you of whether or not you will likely have to undergo this process upon a conviction. After meeting with a drug and alcohol counselor, the counselor will determine if you are an addict and/or an alcoholic. If the finding is yes, you may be ordered by the court to attend an alcohol or drug treatment program. You may also have to complete an alcohol education program during which you will learn about the dangers of overindulging in alcohol or using drugs to get high.
Talk to a Skilled DUI Lawyer in Bloomington, IL Who Cares
Having a DUI on your record can change everything. If you were arrested on a DUI charge, your future may depend on getting a good DUI lawyer. To speak with a trusted Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer, call Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols today to arrange a consultation.
4 Questions To Ask Your DUI Lawyer in Your First Meeting
1. What’s Your Background?
In your first meeting with your Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer, you need to learn about their background. After all, you want to know if they are seasoned veterans or starting their first DUI case. Of course, the more experienced your attorney is with this type of case, the better chance you have at a decent outcome.
So take the time to ask your lawyer how long they’ve been handling DUIs, how many cases they handle in a typical year if they were a prosecutor, how much of their workload is dedicated to DUIs, and how often they take cases to trials. Then, get into more specific details, such as familiarity with your prosecutor, if they normally practice in your area, and how many of their cases have produced favorable outcomes.
2. Have You Had Special Training?
Similarly, it is common for lawyers to have special DUI training credentials, such as the attorneys at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols. To figure out about your lawyer’s special training, ask them about their DUI ride-along experience, if they’re certified by DUI-specific organizations, if they’re state certified DUI specialists, and if they’ve completed any other DUI related courses.
Because not all of these options are available everywhere, you’ll want to do a little research ahead of time and figure out what certifications could apply to your lawyer. For instance, find out if the primary certifying body in your area is the NCDD, state, bar organization, or a program offered by the NHTSA.
3. What Are Your Fees?
Another thing you’ll want to ask your Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer upfront is how they are going to bill you. Before you get to work, you want to know how they will be paid and when you can expect to be billed. After all, this free consultation is just a way for you to clarify any expectations about payments for future meetings. Be sure to ask them about additional fees and what form of payments they accept.
4. What Is Your Opinion on the Outcome?
Even if your DUI lawyer is as successful as Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, they don’t know the future. However, they can use their training and knowledge of the case to predict whether they think the outcome will be favorable or not. Therefore, you should ask your lawyer whether they think a plea agreement is possible if any pre-trial motions are an option, what factors go in your favor, and whether you should go to trial or not.
Questions To Ask Before Hiring a DUI Lawyer
Being arrested on DUI charges can be frightening. It’s important you have a lawyer by your side who you really trust. Here are some important questions to ask before you hire a Bloomington IL DUI lawyer.
How Many DUI Cases Do You See in a Year?
You want this to be a substantial number. If the answer is “maybe a dozen,” keep looking for a DUI lawyer with more experience.
How Often Do You Take Cases to Trial?
Knowing how often a lawyer takes cases to trial and how often she reaches a plea agreement with the prosecution is helpful. It gives you an idea of the working relationship your Bloomington IL DUI lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols has with the prosecutor’s office. That can work in your favor.
How Well Do You Know the Prosecutor in My Case?
If your Bloomington IL DUI lawyer knows the prosecutor in your case, she may know the cards the prosecutor will play in a typical DUI case. What expert witnesses are called, what visual aids are used and what opening and closing statements sound like can only help your lawyer mount a compelling defense.
Are You Certified By Any DUI Organizations?
Certification by The National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) or a similar state bar organization gives your lawyer extra training and testing to be recognized as a “DUI specialist.”
In Addition to Your Standard Fees, Will I Have To Pay for Expert Witnesses or Other Costs?
Your lawyer may charge you a straight fee for all expenses incurred during your DUI defense, or she may itemize expenses you’ll be responsible for paying, including expert witness fees or blood sample re-testing.
Is a Plea Agreement a Possibility?
Depending on the facts in your case and the relationship between your Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols lawyer and the prosecutor, your attorney may be able to tell you the likelihood of any pleading your charges down to a reckless driving charge known as “wet reckless.” Such a reckless driving charge has one major advantage over DUI: wet reckless convictions don’t involve suspension of your driver’s license.
Which Facts Work in My Favor and Which Work Against Me?
Factors in your case include things such as whether you were speeding, whether you were weaving, whether you were in an accident, whether you refused to take a field sobriety test or breathalyzer and how polite you were to the arresting officer.
Should we go to trial?
At the end of an initial consultation, a Bloomington IL DUI lawyer should have an idea of the strength of your case and be able to recommend either going to trial or trying to get a plea bargain.
Considerations to Make if You Have Been Pulled Over by a DUI
When it comes to a DUI arrest, or being pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, there are a few things our DUI lawyer serving Bloomington, IL shares that you should not do. At Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, our lawyers know that a DUI case can be made much by taking the following into consideration:
Handover Your Documents
If you have pulled over for anything, do not be incapable of giving the police officer your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. If you are seen fumbling around with these things, or you cannot find them, you might only give the officer a better reason to further inquire into your current situation and whether you’ve been drinking.
Our Bloomington, Illinois DUI lawyer recommends that you try gathering all of your documents while the officer is coming to your car. If it is nighttime, turn on the interior light, and once you have the documents, keep both hands on the steering wheel.
Don’t Admit to Drinking Anything
At some point, the officer will likely want to know if you have had anything to drink. When they use the word ‘anything’, they mean this literally. As a Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer, we have known many people who assume the officer will be appreciative, thus lenient, if they are honest about “having just one drink”, or “having a glass of wine an hour ago.”
The officer is not interested in what you had and how long ago. All he or she wants to know is whether you have consumed any alcohol. If you answer “yes”, it can be probable cause and enough to warrant your arrest.
Our DUI lawyer representing Bloomington, IL shares with you that, you can decline their question, or politely say no. You might still be arrested; however, your case may be more favorable when you give police the least amount of evidence to use against you.
You Should Submit to an Alcohol Test After Your Arrest
Once you have been arrested, you are required by law to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. There are a lot of rumors that suggest you don’t have to submit to a test after your arrest, or rather you should not. This is inadvisable as it could result in harsher penalties. Even if you fail the test, it is better that you take it. A good Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer may be able to fight the results on your behalf.
Make Sure the Lawyer is Present with You During Questioning
As soon as you are arrested, anything you say can be used against you. Police know how to use various tactics in an attempt to get you to voluntarily say things that could incriminate you. A Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer can be your voice and ensure you don’t give up your rights during questioning.
Utilize Your Right to a Phone Call
In most states, you have the right to make at least three phone calls after an arrest. Your first call should be to a DUI lawyer serving Bloomington, IL at Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols. Your second might be to a family member or a friend. And your third could be to a bail bondsman if you plan to post bail.
Why Do You Need a DUI Lawyer?
If you face charges of driving under the influence, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or happened before. The penalties for DUI are high and if you have a DUI on record, the penalty can be even higher. Unfortunately, individuals sometimes decide that they do not need a defense when fighting a DUI charge. Before you decide you don’t need a Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer, check out why it is essential to have a lawyer on your side.
Do You Have Aggravating Circumstances?
Many people charged with a DUI have other charges pending against them. For example, an officer may claim that you were uncooperative or damaged property or caused injuries. If you have any aggravating circumstances, you need a lawyer to help with the case. Your lawyer knows how to navigate the charges often associated with a DUI. Since these charges can increase the sentence or penalty, you need a lawyer to help change the outcome of your case.
Do You Think Your Test Results Were False?
There is a possibility that your breathalyzer test was wrong or you failed the field sobriety test for other reasons. If you feel as though you were innocent and are being wrongfully charged with a DUI, then you need an attorney to help you collect the evidence and prove that you were not under the influence while behind the wheel. A Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer is there to defend you against false charges.
Do You Have Experience in the Legal System?
Even if you fear that there is nothing anyone can do for you, there are still ways lawyers can guide you through the process. For example, if you wind up missing deadlines or court dates, you could hurt your case. Without an attorney, you are essentially fighting alone. With a lawyer, you may be able to expedite the process. Attorneys can also help you complete alcohol education or treatment programs that may help reduce your sentence or allow you to receive your driving privileges back. Most people do not have a lot of experience with the legal system or navigating a DUI case.
Foregoing a Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer can be devastating for your case. When working with a lawyer, he or she has the experience and knowledge to help you create a defense that may have your charge reduced or dropped. When it comes to success, people have more success when working with a legal advocate.
You Should Not Represent Yourself
Any criminal case is complicated, including DUI charges. Regardless of your innocence, it may be in your best interest to rely on a DUI lawyer to defend your case.
Don’t take the risk of representing yourself, call an experienced Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols.
Bloomington IL DUI Lawyer
You may have heard you can defend yourself in court, but the reality is that you shouldn’t and a Bloomington IL, DUI lawyer is often in your best interest to find. Yes, it is true that you can and while there are plenty of legal resources out there, it simply just isn’t in your best interest to do so. A DUI case is one of the more complicated cases out there and it takes years to understand the laws.
Experienced DUI lawyers know what to look for and they know the simple mistakes that an be made during this process. It is their job to know what to do in this scenario and that is why trusting one is often a good thing.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Defend Yourself in Your DUI Case
As stated above you really should avoid representing yourself in court when it comes to a DUI case. Here are the top reasons as to why you should avoid it.
You Lack Experience
If you don’t know the law and have no experience in court then you most likely won’t know what to look for in terms of defense. Most often you won’t know the deadlines or what paperwork you need to fill out to make sure your case has a footing. People spend 8+ years going to law school to help you with cases. There are several years after that for them to become experienced in the world of DUI cases. You may be smart and motivated but the chances are you won’t be able to learn everything you need ot know in a short time. And if the other side has a lawyer it doesn’t look good for you.
Your Resources Are Limited
Yes, there are plenty of books you can read and internet research articles you can find, but often many of these resources are only available to lawyers. Trying to defend yourself with what little you have may not be enough to have a solid understanding of what needs to be done. Many lawyers have other connections to various fields of study as well, making it easier to get the information they need.
It Is Very Time Consuming
Even if you have access to these resources, your time is limited. You are just one person after all. By hiring a lawyer you are getting a whole team on your side. This means that the time is split up between different people, meaning more can get done. Given the legal deadlines that you have to face, it isn’t worth you trying to scramble to get it all done and making a mistake that could cost you your case.
If you have been charged with a DUI, you may want to consult a Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols. A DUI is a serious charge, and you want someone knowledgeable and experienced on your side. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about DUI cases.
What Do Police Officers Look for When Searching for Drunk Drivers?
Police officers are trained on how to recognize signs of drunk driving. They may be more likely to pull over drivers who drift in and out of lanes, drive against traffic, brake excessively, accelerate or slow down quickly or make illegal turns.
What Are the Penalties of a DUI Conviction in Illinois?
The penalties of a DUI conviction in Illinois will depend on multiple factors, such as how high your BAC was and whether or not you have prior DUI convictions. For instance, if it’s your first DUI offense, you may face up to 364 days in jail and a fine up to $2,500. Second and subsequent offenses may result in longer jail sentences and additional penalties, like ignition interlock devices and AA meetings.
What Will Happen If I Refuse a Chemical Test?
In Illinois, drivers automatically give consent to a chemical test if a police officer has reason to believe they are under the influence. If you refuse to submit a chemical test, you will automatically get your driver’s license suspended.
How Can a DUI Lawyer Help Me?
If you are facing a DUI charge, it is in your best interest to retain a Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer. DUI convictions can carry stiff penalties, like jail time, heavy fines and license suspension. An experienced DUI lawyer can challenge evidence, search for holes in your case and negotiate lower penalties. With a skilled lawyer on your side, you are more likely to get a favorable outcome in your DUI case.
Is It Acceptable to Not Answer the Police Officer’s Questions?
Yes, you are under no obligation to answer the police officer’s questions when pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. In fact, refusing to answer any of the officer’s questions is a wise move. You don’t stand to gain anything by answering his or her questions. Politely tell the officer that you don’t wish to answer any questions without your lawyer present.
Schedule a consultation with a Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer today to discuss your case in detail.
Reaching out to an experienced Bloomington, IL, DUI lawyer should be one of the first steps taken after receiving a DUI charge. In Illinois, drivers who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) that exceeds .08% will be charged with a DUI if pulled over by law enforcement. It may come as a surprise, but this threshold is not difficult to meet, and it’s not uncommon for someone to get behind the wheel unaware that they have consumed more than the legally acceptable amount. Unfortunately, receiving a DUI charge and subsequent conviction can have lasting consequences, and legal representation from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols will be essential. Working with a law firm can offer defendants a sound legal strategy and the answers to the many questions they will undoubtedly have regarding what happens next.
What are the first steps to take after being charged with a DUI?
It’s possible that if a driver was pulled over and charged with a DUI, they might have to serve jail time. However, for those who are charged with a misdemeanor, or it is their first DUI charge, this may not be required. After a charge, it’s imperative to contact a Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer with experience in this practice area. They will be able to review the case and determine the proper course of action.
What are the possible consequences of a subsequent DUI conviction?
Consequences vary for DUI convictions depending upon the severity and whether or not this is the defendant’s first DUI. While a second DUI is likely to be classified as a misdemeanor, the consequences are more significant than the first time around. Drivers could face time in jail, higher fines, and loss of license for up to 5 years. For a third DUI conviction, drivers may be charged with a felony offense, which is subject to jail time or community service, even higher fines, and loss of license for ten years.
Is there a way to keep my license after being convicted of a DUI?
First-time offenders may lose their license for one year if convicted, which can be incredibly challenging for many drivers. With guidance from a lawyer, it may be possible to retain some driving privileges by seeking a restricted driving permit (RDP) or hardship license. This allows drivers to continue driving for medical care, employment, child care, etc. Keep in mind that drivers may be required to have an ignition interlock device, a car breathalyzer device is installed in the vehicle to monitor whether a person is attempting to drive under the influence.
Can a lawyer get a DUI case dismissed?
Yes. It may be possible to get the DUI case dismissed. However, this will require having a lawyer who has extensive knowledge of the legal system and representing DUI cases. A lawyer will review the case looking for key details that may strengthen this possibility, including challenging the field sobriety tests that were conducted and determining whether the traffic stop was valid.
For more information on service offerings at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, please schedule a consultation with our Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer.
Most DUI Lawyers Offer Free Consultations
When you first seek advice from a lawyer, it won’t cost you anything until they take on the case. That means the consolation to get the advice is a no harm zone. If you don’t like one lawyer, then you can easily move on to someone else. In your first meeting, you can learn what steps need to be taken and what the potential outcomes of your case might be.
If you need a Bloomington, IL DUI lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, don’t hesitate to reach today.
“Joe was very helpful! Helped me through the whole process! Went smooth and easy!”