The MacNeil Firm Ltd.

How Often Do DUI Cases Go To Trial?


Just by sheer numbers, most DUI cases are resolved before a bench trial or a jury trial. I go through an analysis of facts and the relevant law on every DUI case I handle. After I have thoroughly investigated the situation, then I have a separate meeting with my client in which I explain all the evidence and give all the options to my clients. I also give them the pros and cons of each of those options and offer my expertise and opinion on each one. In other words, I will tell them what I think they should do and explain why I feel that way and that this is the best possible recourse for a favorable outcome.

Together my client and I will decide whether to take the case to trial or choose another option. Obviously, I am the expert and my clients will generally defer to my opinion on how to proceed, but my client is the boss. If we have a difference in opinion on how to proceed, as long as my client understands why I feel the way I do and why I disagree with their approach, I will defer to my client’s wishes, although that is a rare occurrence.

Do Most DUI attorneys Avoid Going to Trial?

There are some attorneys who will avoid going to trial and almost always plead their clients guilty. These are also usually the same lawyers that quote shockingly low legal fees. I consider myself to be a skilled trial attorney, yet I see a large number of my peers that appear to be afraid of going to trial. I really do not have an explanation why this occurs. I can only speculate that perhaps they do not have the experience, training, or talent that it takes to be a successful trial attorney. Any individual who is charged with a DUI and consults with a potential lawyer should ask that attorney how many DUI bench or jury trials have they done in the last few years they have been practicing law.

It is surprising to most people how many DUI lawyers literally do not take cases in to trial. For me, taking a case to trial is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of my job, because it is the culmination of all my studying, training, and experience. Not every DUI should go to trial, but I investigate, research, and prepare every case as if we are going to trial.

How Do You Determine Whether Taking A DUI Case To Trial Is Feasible OR Not?

There are one or two reasons why I take my cases to trial. Most of the time, the reason we take a case to trial is because, based on my review of the facts and law, I think I can produce a not guilty verdict in the case. The second reason is if we run out of options and our backs are against the wall, which is a pretty rare occurrence, but it does happen from time to time. If I evaluate a case and notice the facts and laws are on our side, I will recommend going to trial to my client and in the long run it is usually favorable. The decision to go to trial is sometimes difficult because the evidence is not as cut and dry or black and white as you would think. The evidence is frequently on the fence. But, I make every effort and spend as much time as needed to help my clients make the right decision.

Should Someone Go To Trial If They Don’t Like The Plea Deal That Is Offered?

No, not everyone should take every plea deal that is offered. The first plea agreement offered by the prosecutor is usually not the last or best offer that we can get from them. In other words, if I have a meeting with my client and we determine that going to trial is not the best option for that client, then I have to work on negotiating for their behalf. If the first deal that is presented to my client is not acceptable for one reason or the other, I will go back to the negotiating table and work to achieve an agreement that is favorable for my client. Most of the time if my clients and I have determined that trial is not appropriate for them, I can obtain a plea agreement that not just meets, but usually exceeds my client’s goals and expectations.

What Are The Common Reasons That A DUI Case May Be Dismissed?

I am able to have most DUI cases dismissed for a number of different reasons. Sometimes there is a legal defect in the case, or what somebody might call a technicality. Other times it might be a constitutional basis. A case could be dismissed if it was determined that there was no probable cause to make that traffic stop. A case can be dismissed if there was no probable cause to arrest them for a DUI. I have had situations where there is a roadblock or a roadside sobriety checkpoint, and I was able to have it determined by a judge that the entire checkpoint system was performed in an unconstitutional manner. Sometimes, they are forced to dismiss a case if I am able to exclude or suppress certain evidence. It may be the only evidence that I do exclude, which is the only information they had against my client to begin with.

For more information on DUI Trials in Illinois, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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