When you fight your Chicago DUI case, you want to do everything that you can to develop your case and strategically defend against the charges. A lot of the work preparing your defense happens long before you set foot in court for your trial date. Here’s what can be done for your Chicago DUI case prior to hearing:
Address your conditions of bond
The court may allow you to stay out of jail as you await your trial date. They may impose conditions on your release. One of the things you can do is review these conditions to see if they work for you. If the court requires you to test for alcohol while you’re on bond, they may adjust the tests to fit your work schedule. You can work with your attorney to make sure that the conditions of bond are workable while you prepare your case. If you need to adjust the conditions of your bond, your attorney can help you approach the court to make the request.
Prior to the hearing, you should carefully build your case. That means getting evidence from the state’s attorney and also conducting your own investigation. You can start by demanding a copy of the police report, chemical test results and other evidence from law enforcement. If there’s any video for the case, that’s helpful to secure. You may also ask for copies of a 911 recording if it exists in the case. The police should produce this evidence if you formally demand it.
There may be witnesses to the case that can be helpful to your defense. It’s up to you to contact these witnesses and secure their attendance at your hearing. Passengers in your vehicle and even other drivers and passengers on the road may come to your defense to share observations that law enforcement may have overlooked or failed to include in their report. Your attorney can help you prepare a subpoena in order to secure the attendance of a witness at your hearing.
Build your case for a plea agreement
Even though you ultimately have the option to take your case to trial, you may want to also explore securing a favorable plea agreement that can resolve the case without needing a trial. There are things that you can do prior to your hearing in order to make your case a strong case for the state’s attorney to extend a plea offer. First, abstain from using alcohol and avoid breaking any laws while you await your trial date. You may need to begin counseling in order to show the state that you’re ready to address an alcohol problem. Your Chicago DUI attorney can help you determine the best course of action to put your best foot forward for the state attorney’s consideration.
Discuss a plea agreement
Once you’ve taken the steps to make your case favorable for a plea offer, you can approach the state’s attorney to discuss a plea. You may be able to negotiate a plea agreement that comes with reduced charges that have lower maximum penalties. When you consider a plea agreement, you should carefully examine the repercussions for possible jail time, fines, probation and possible suspension of your operator’s license. Whether you take your case to trial or ultimately accept a plea is up to you. Your DUI lawyer in Chicago can help you decide what you should do.
Prepare trial testimony
You should continue to prepare your case as though it’s going to go to trial. You and your attorney should prepare to question witnesses. You should review the evidence against you and determine where you have grounds to challenge the state’s evidence. You should prepare direct examination for your witnesses and cross-examination questions for the state’s witnesses.
You may not decide whether to testify on your own behalf until during your trial. However, it’s important to give the matter some thought and consider what you may want to tell the jury. You should also work with your attorney to develop a comprehensive trial strategy and prepare opening and closing arguments for your case.
Evaluate potential jurors
When you arrive at your hearing, you have a chance to question potential jurors in order to make sure that you receive a fair trial. You may have a chance to review the juror questionnaires ahead of the trial. Getting to know potential jurors ahead of the trial can make your questioning of the jury more effective.
What to do before your hearing
There are many things you can do for your Chicago DUI case before your hearing. Each of these steps can aid in your defense. Working to build your case can also help you make a decision about whether to plead guilty, work towards a plea resolution or proceed to trial in your case.