DUI's are misdemeanors. At least most are. Why would an attorney only handle some small aspect of criminal law. Don't "top notch" criminal attorneys do felonies and other more serious types of crime as well? If a guy had been doing DUI's only for 20+ years should I be worried that this is an attorney stuck in the minor leagues?? I'm looking at attorneys for my DUI in Room 402 Downtown.
Let me ask you this: If you had a shoulder injury, would you seek out doctors that had extensive experience dealing with shoulder injuries, or would you be more inclined to hire a "big shot" brain surgeon? Like medicine, practicing law in one area doesn't always transfer over to practicing in another area.
DUIs are not the minor leagues. DUIs are one of the most technical areas of criminal law. An attorney that handles murders may not want to touch a DUI case because of these technical aspects. There are plenty of DUI attorneys that have become well-versed and respected in that niche and they will stay within that niche because it makes sense professionally.
I have handled several summary suspension matters on the fourth floor of the Daley Center. If you would like me to refer you to a couple DUI attorneys I can do that.
DUI laws are complex and confusing, even for attorneys who practice in other areas of law. An attorney who represents people accused of DUI needs to know this law, as well as how to challenge illegal stops, and breath, blood and urine testing. Also, because DUI is a "caught in the act" type of crime charged by police officers, the attorney has to be able to cross-examine police officers. In my opinion, defending DUIs are more difficult than many other areas of criminal defense or litigation, and I am saying that as an attorney who has handled not only DUI but various felony, chancery, wrongful death, personal injury, contract, employment discrimination and matrimonial cases.
Room 402 at the Daley center has a rotating judge system, so you will not always have the same judge. Further, some attorneys limit their practice to only DUI law because that is what they know and are comfortable, and good at, just practicing that, which is fine, others keep abreast of all criminal law and have a broader vision of the law, and some even practice other types of law other then criminal defense. All are good options IF you meet with the attorney and are comfortable with that attorney before you hire him/her. Most offer a free consultation, so do your foot work and visit a few, then choose who you think is best fitted for your needs based on your interview, not based on some advertisement.
Think of it this way - DUI law is complicated. Lawyers who limit their practice to DUI are experts at what they do, or at least should be. The fact that an attorney only handles DUI law isn't an indication that they are "stuck in the minor leagues" by any stretch.
Many of us who handle DUI law also handle felonies and traffic matters, but that doesn't make us "major" league attorneys, it just means we are interested in other matters as well.
Doctors who only handle problems with feet are called podiatrists, and no one would consider them minor league doctors. They are specialists, focused on what interests them most.
When an attorney is licensed in the state of Illinois, they can take any case they wish - tax, probate, family, criminal, etc. If an attorney enjoys the practice of DUI law, is an expert, and gets good results, why on earth would you criticize them for that again?
If your only concern with hiring an attorney is that they only handle the type of case you are facing, perhaps you aren't thinking things through completely. My guess is that your interaction with this attorney left you with the feeling that the lawyer isn't for you and are trying to figure out why. I assure you, if an attorney has done nothing but practice DUI law for 20+ years, they are either an expert in their field or are trying to find their niche market. If you feel uneasy with an attorney, it shouldn't be because they only handle one type of case.
If you want to see if you have the right guy, schedule a consultation with another attorney and pay attention - did they say similar things? Do they seem to know what they are talking about? Are you confident enough with each of them that you believe they can help you? Are they focused on YOUR specific needs or not?
If you talk to more than one attorney about the same thing, you should be able to form an opinion about which to hire.
Good luck with your pending case. Find the right attorney for you.
Make no mistake, DUI representation requires a high level of expertise. A person charged with DUI can have their life negatively affected for years. Many professionals such as lawyers, police officers (yes, lawyers and police get DUIs), Doctors and pilots can have professional licensing issues resulting from a DUI. As an attorney for 30 plus years who has handled a fair amount of DUI cases as well as felonies, I have consulted with other lawyers who focus their practice on DUI and have co-counseled with other attorneys who where the case is complex.
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