DUI Lawyer Rockford IL
DUI Defense Attorney Winnebago County, IL
Many people search for a “DUI Lawyer near me” and hire one of the first few law firms that come up without doing much more research. While having a DUI attorney nearby is important, it’s also important to know that you’re hiring the right attorney for your specific case. Paul M. Marriett is a skilled DUI defense lawyer providing Rockford and all of Illinois with high-quality service since 2011. We’ve handled DUI cases in Rockford (Winnebago County), Illinois to Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, Boone, McHenry, DeKalb, Ogle, Lee, LaSalle, Bureau, Mercer, Whiteside, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Henry, and Rock Island Counties. If there is a way to beat your case whether simple or complex, we can find it.
For more than a decade my firm the Law Office of Paul M. Marriett has helped protect thousands of motorist’s driving privileges, jobs, and their families from the devastating consequences that a major traffic or DUI case can have on a citizen’s right to drive and operate a motor vehicle, and thereby earn a living to support themselves and their loved ones.
Illinois law has very strict policies regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or some other impairing substances, and it’s important to fully understand these laws to deploy an aggressive DUI defense in your case.
When you hire my office, you get me.
- Honest, timely answers.
- Personalized service on all aspects of your case both in, and out of court.
- I will attend every court date with you personally.
- You will always have my cell and email to contact me directly.
- You will always know what is happening with your case.
You will not experience:
- A team of associates that changes every court date.
- Last minute explanations of what’s happening outside of the courtroom door where you don’t have enough time to make a reasoned decision.
- Pressured ultimatums on how best to move your case forward.
- Pushy sales techniques.
- Unreturned calls or messages.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you are likely facing multiple types of cases, NOT just one.
While this list of issues is not comprehensive, it does raise all the key issues that most motorists will face after a DUI arrest.
- Vehicle Impoundment and associated release fees.
- Illinois State license suspension (statutory summary suspension) that starts 45 days after your arrest, or after your breath, blood, or urine test results are returned to the arresting officer. This impacts you WHILE YOUR CASE IS PENDING.
- Illinois State license suspension (statutory summary suspension) that starts 45 days after your arrest, or after your breath, blood, or urine test results are returned to the arresting officer and could suspend your out of state driver’s license. This impacts you WHILE YOUR CASE IS PENDING.
- Illinois State misdemeanor, or felony charges.
- Possibility of an Illinois Driver’s License Revocation at the end of your case if convicted. This revocation is indefinite and while the minimum is 12 months before reinstatement can occur, some people can struggle with completing the steps required to clear their revocation and regain their privileges for DECADES.
- Possibility of an Illinois Revocation at the end of your case if convicted, that could revoke your out of state driver’s license. Each case is different, and each State is different. If you are licensed outside of Illinois, we typically will have you consult with, or obtain counsel in your home state so that I can assist with doing anything necessary in our Illinois case such as getting any required judicial signatures for driving relief that may be necessary in your home issuing state.
- The need to have an Illinois Secretary of State formal or informal administrative hearing to clear a license revocation to obtain Illinois Driving privileges after a conviction.
- The need to have an Illinois Secretary of State formal or informal administrative or mail-in hearing to clear a license revocation to lift the Illinois revocation being passed on to your home licensing state causing you a problem where you were licensed at the time of your DUI arrest.
*not every lawyer handles civil statutory summary suspension based issues. If you’re not getting an explanation of how the timeline works as they try to save your license, and the steps being taken, you may not have someone that takes this part of your case seriously, or your rights are being surrendered without you being made aware of the issue.
**few lawyers handle out of state-based issues or have the network that we do to help assist as much as possible with issues you or a loved one may be facing from their home licensing state based on an Illinois DUI arrest, or resultant conviction.
**few lawyers handle license reinstatement issues with the Illinois Secretary of State. While this is separate from a DUI criminal charge, it is still related and often we represent people from the very beginning of their case, all the way through the point that they may need a reinstatement if we can’t beat their case.
What is a DUI?
A DUI could be issued when someone over the age of 21 is caught driving drunk with a blood-alcohol (BAC) level of 0.08 or above. Additionally, Illinois has added penalties for those whose blood-alcohol content is well above the legal limit. Specifically, if a blood-alcohol level is 0.16 or above, the driver will face additional consequences. This also applies to drunken drivers who are caught driving with a person under age 16 in the car at the time of arrest.
Even if not convicted, a driver can lose his or her license for one year if that person refuses to submit to a BAC test — or three years if you refuse the test a second time. And if you are convicted of DUI in Illinois, you may be sentenced to as much as one year in jail and a $2,500 fine for the first offense. The penalties for an aggravated DUI are more severe than other types of DUIs.
DUI for Marijuana
Illinois also allows for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. However, a driver still may not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis prescribed for medicinal purposes and may not transport medicinal cannabis in a vehicle unless it is contained in a tamper-proof container and is kept in an area that is inaccessible while the vehicle is in motion.
If a police officer stops a vehicle driven by a person with a registry card for medical cannabis and the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe the person is under the influence of cannabis, the driver must submit to field sobriety testing just like any alcohol test. Refusal to submit to testing or failure of the field sobriety tests will result in the suspension of the person’s driver’s license.
An Attorney Will Greatly Assist Your DUI Defense
While some may think these cases are simple, they are anything but. There are constantly evolving regulations and driver protections as well. For instance, as of Jan. 1, 2017, a DUI guilty plea will not be accepted until all penalties have been explained, including the possible loss of driving privileges. The Secretary of State must notify the driver and the Illinois Department of Public Health will revoke a medical cannabis card for a driver convicted of a felony violation of the state.
And then there’s the issue of driver’s license reinstatement. Driving privileges may be reinstated at the end of the statutory summary suspension period, but all conditions must be met. An attorney can help keep a client on track to efficiently meet all of these requirements and restore a valid driver’s license.
By no means is this an exhaustive explanation of this topic, and there are always certain issues that individuals are facing in each case that are specific to only that situation, such as an out-of-state driver’s license being impacted from an Illinois DUI arrest or conviction, permits to drive for employment purposes, and several other issues that come up.
Some things we investigate after being hired on to a case:
- Was the traffic stop and/or investigation of you at the roadside legal? If not, we may be able to have your case dismissed, or if it’s a close case, reduced to a reckless driving or other non-dui related offense.
- Did the officer have up to date certifications and credentials to use the breath testing devices.
- Was the equipment recently tested/calibrated.
- Did the equipment recently have an error that could invalidate a large amount of breath test results both for you, and other defendants accused of being DUI.
Ways we investigate and fight your case:
- Look for factual evidence that supports the finding of reasonable doubt for a jury or judge should your case proceed to trial.
- Look for evidentiary issues that are favorable to keeping or removing things from being shown to or talked about to a jury. (Motions to suppress, or bar)
- Mitigation, Mitigation, Mitigation. You may have heard about someone talking in the abstract about what a plea bargain is. In second and greater offenses the stakes go up cumulatively as each subsequent DUI related offense typically enhances the punishment for the next one you may receive. Not only do the consequences to your future driving privileges increase substantially, so do the criminal penalties including jail, and even prison sentences. We will build your biography, educational and family history, work history, etc., and take this information in a comprehensive and favorable light to ask the prosecution in a case with fewer defense options to amend your charge to save you from the greater consequences you may otherwise be facing without a break.
- “Messing with the fabric of reality”. This is usually deployed as a last-ditch effort, is costly, time consuming, and is the last, long shot bid to change someone’s possible punishment. As an example, we had a client facing an enhanced charge from an offense tied back all the way to the 1980’s. At the time of that offense, collateral consequences were never a thing and essentially, they were “grandfathered” into an enhanced penalty without ever being admonished that their plea to an offense in the 1980’s could later hurt them in the future if they picked up a similar offense. We filed the appropriate motion to reopen the case 30+ years later, and a trial court Judge agreed that it would have to be reopened as the collateral consequence would potentially void the original plea agreement. In that case when Judge had indicated what he was likely to do he gave the parties (us, and the prosecution) a pathway forward to resolve the case through an amended plea which fixed the underlying issue related to their modern era criminal charge and everyone went away happy. (except for the new prosecutor that could no longer move forward with a felony charge as the driving record being used to penalize the client was now changed from us going back 30+ years to fix the history being used against our client).
- It’s not my job to do the prosecutor’s job. If they make no mention of a prior offense and extend an offer on a charged misdemeanor that is dramatically UNDER what your possible maximum is, we’ve had people accept punishments for 1st or 2nd offenses without fighting the offer, because if the prosecutor’s office spends enough time on a client driving record, or a more seasoned prosecutor ever looks at the file the risk becomes real that a substantial period of incarceration could occur. We’ve had people facing fourth and greater offenses carrying mandatory prison sentence, receive dispositions for first time offenders. It may not happen frequently, but it DOES and has happened.
What prior offenses do you have, and can they be used against you in your new case.
- If you had a prior and served jail
- Did not have a lawyer and
- And could not have afforded a lawyer, and the court did not appoint a lawyer for you.
**Your prior may be able to be stricken from being used against you.
To put it simply, you have a lot of options at the beginning of a case. The most important thing you can do is to be honest with your lawyer. If someone hides a prior, it can impact the steps that a lawyer is going to take to try and defend them on a new offense. Not only does it end up hurting you if a prior is hidden, it also is going to cause more work, and possibly damage the steps your lawyer would have otherwise taken if you’d been up front at the beginning. Over the last decade anyone that omitted a prior has not only delayed the possibility of their case ending, but in most cases has led me to begin my posture of the case in a much more aggressive position than I otherwise would have, and when the prosecutor informs me of certain prior offenses they’re now using to turn a prior into a felony, the client is never happy, I’m never happy, and it ends up costing them much more money and time because we have to not only represent them in the pending case but also try and do damage control to see if any of the prosecution’s steps can be “walked back”.
Contact A Rockford DUI Lawyer For Help
If you are interested in me assisting you or your loved one with a case, take a photo of your notice of statutory summary suspension, and send me over a text or call to 815-391-0089, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any meaningful prior dui related offenses. Once I can look your case up, we can schedule a time to talk and get a plan setup for us to start working to protect your criminal history and driving privileges. If you’re missing documents, or otherwise in a hurry, of course feel free to call or text without having submitted those images, it does help streamline our conversation though and helps me find your case quicker and to identify key dates that may be important as you plan out what happens if we cannot stop a license suspension from happening. My office is 24/7/365, even on the weekends feel free to reach out. We look forward to helping.
If you or a loved one is faced with a DUI charge it pays to at least discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney, especially if you are handling it on your own (pro se). Contact us by phone, email, or send a text message to discuss your case today.
Payment plans are available for qualified individuals.
What Our Clients Have to Say
“He worked my case so efficiently and so fast my DUI case was over and done within a little more than a month or so. I would hire him again if I needed him.”
April 5, 2019
Read more reviews on Google!