Do Most People Have A Court Date In The First Month?
Most of the time you’re going to be in court within a month. With a speeding ticket or DUI, it’s two months. And that’s another reason you want to get an attorney right away because on a DUI, you have some factors that are going to come into play with a timeframe that you can’t alter. If you get a DUI in Illinois, you have a suspension of 46 days after you either took the test and blew over or you didn’t take the test. Nothing stops that clock from ticking. So you need to do something with your attorney right away to file papers and get rid of that.
Just by filing the papers does not pull that time period. So the immediate thing to do is find an attorney you’re comfortable with and who knows what he’s doing and talk to him right away; then he can tell you, “Okay. This is important. We’ll work on it right away.” Or if it’s a battery case, you have three months, so we can do an investigation and find some new witnesses. In some cases, there could be some people who can verify you were somewhere else. But if you let it go too long and those people disappear, then you’re out of luck.
So you definitely want to talk to an attorney so he can evaluate how quickly you need to do things, but you never benefit by waiting. After you’re arrested, you’re going to get inundated with fliers from 200 attorneys. It used to be illegal for attorneys to send those things out; now you just can’t stop getting them. So if you get arrested on Friday, you’re going to get mail on Tuesday from 20 different attorneys, all saying they are the best and the cheapest. So the first thing you need to do is find somebody you trust then listen to their advice. That’s all you can do because there are so many different factors. I can’t give you one answer that fits every situation other than you never go wrong talking to an attorney right away.
You need to find an attorney that you trust and develop a relationship with so you know you can call them 24×7, and they’re going to be there to answer the tough questions when they come up. The cop might say, “I am going to give you one phone call. Who do you want to call?” Well, you either want to call your buddy to bring $500 to get you out of jail, or you want to talk to an attorney. It’s a tough decision. If there’s somebody you have a good relationship with, you can call that attorney, and he’ll say, “I’ll contact your buddies and tell them to come down with the bond money but don’t say another word to the police.” You need to make that initial contact with an attorney as soon as possible. It’s crucial.
Do You Recommend Pre-Trial Counseling For Your Clients?
Every case is different because there may not be any evidence that’s going to be sufficient for a conviction or anything where you need counseling. So why in the world would you want it? Obviously, you want to take care of yourself; so if you need counseling, go get it, but don’t rush out and get counseling because you might go to a place not approved by the court. I have people going to AA for a month, which wasn’t helpful for them. It may not hurt in the end, but no prosecutor’s going to say, “Oh, I’m so glad you went to AA; I am going to reduce your charges from a DUI to a reckless.”
If you are going to get counseling, it needs to be appropriate. For example, I had a young girl, who had a horrible and tragic event where she had a DUI and her mom was in the car and was killed. This was one of these cases where there was mandatory prison time by statute, unless there were extraordinary mitigations, and part of the mitigation was that as soon as I met this girl, I got her to counseling right away. Not that she was waiting for the court to tell her to do it; she had psychological issues because she’d killed her mom, along with alcohol issues because you’re not supposed to be blowing a .021 when you’re 22 years old. There were things that needed to be addressed immediately, so it’s very important to do some things right away while some don’t matter. So I don’t want you to go out and get DUI counseling immediately.
Let’s say you get a DUI, and you run out and get your evaluation done then start doing classes and get the DUI case dismissed for whatever reason. Let’s say it was a bad stop. God forbid, you get arrested again and go to an evaluation place. They’re going to say, “Oh, you’ve already been in here once before, so we’re going to kick you up a level. You’re no longer a level II; now you’re level III.” Instead of $500, you’re going to spend $1,800. Instead of 20 hours, you’re going to do 75 hours of counseling. You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot either. If you need help, you should get it, but you don’t want to do something that will punish you later on in life because you did more than you needed to do. You need to do what’s right for you first, but you don’t want to jump into getting evaluations and doing treatment if it’s not going to be ordered.
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