Asked 4 months ago - Apache Junction, AZFlag
I got a 1st offense DUI in October in Illinois. I hired a lawyer right away because I was moving to Arizona that next week. The communication between us is lacking on his part, and I have had to fly back for one court date already and now he is telling me that I have to fly back again in April. I was told by his secretary that I needed nothing at this court date , and when I get there, he tells me different, which is why he says I must return again. But then on the other hand , tells me that I may not have to. I need to know if I can represent myself or if I keep him and take the chances that he is not going to deliver as he promised when I hired him. Crystal
I would never advise someone to represent themselves over having an attorney. I think you need to talk with the lawyer and explain what you thought were the expectations and see if there was a miscommunication. Also, things in law do change. What was his plan might have changed because of things outside of his control such as the judge or the prosecutor demanding something. If you are not comfortable having the person representing you the other option is to hire another attorney or ask the court to appoint one if you cannot afford to hire one.
First of all, it usually takes several court dates to get a case resolved, and unless the court will waive your presence, you have to be at every one. That's not your attorney's fault. But that being said, if you don't trust him, you should find an attorney you trust. Don't represent yourself.
I agree that representing yourself is a BAD idea. You need to work out the communication problem with your lawyer. If you can't you should find another lawyer. Also, you may want to post this showing the city where the Court is located as your location. That will bring your question to the attention of Illinois lawyers who might be able to tell you more about procedure there.
Often people think that because it isn’t a murder case, a drunk driving case is simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. These cases can be among the most complex a criminal defense lawyer handles. The government is willing to spend an incredible amount of money to convict you though. They will have expert witnesses available for consultation and trial.
That you have been charged or that some contraption says your alcohol level was at a certain level does not mean that you are guilty. It certainly does not mean that you can be proven guilty using competent, valid evidence.
Field sobriety “tests” are designed to give police a reason to arrest. You cannot “pass” them. The police will admit that almost a third of healthy young adults who take these tests without any alcohol will be judged to be “under the influence” – and that assumes they are properly administered!
After even a first drunk driving conviction, you may face employment discrimination. You will certainly be charged higher for insurance. Having such a conviction will also make you a target for drunk driving arrest in future interactions with police. You will automatically become a suspect.
You will want a lawyer who is familiar with field sobriety “tests,” perhaps one who is certified to administer these tests. You will want a lawyer familiar with the weaknesses of the contraptions that are used to report alcohol or drug levels. You want an experienced trial lawyer, used to cross-examining police officers. Police officers are practiced, experienced witnesses.
That is, you want an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer, whether you call the offense DUI, OWI, DWI, OUI, or drugged driving.
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I am an experienced Wisconsin drunk driving (DUI/OWI/DWI) defense lawyer practicing in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the Internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you.
If something I say disagrees with what your own lawyer is telling you, you should rely on your lawyer who is familiar with you, your entire case, the local courts and practices.
To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services.
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