Do I Need a Lawyer when I’m Charged with a Crime or Driving Under the Influence (DUI/OWI/DWI)?

Do I Need a Lawyer when I’m Charged with a Crime or Driving Under the Influence (DUI/OWI/DWI)?

When you are faced with any criminal charges, there could be severe consequences. That means substantial fines, possible probation, and the potential for extended jail time. Your next move should be finding an experienced criminal lawyer who can help impact your future. Hanna & Ruud, LLC Attorneys at Law has a team of experienced criminal attorneys and a knowledgeable staff who can provide you with a solid defense no matter what kind of criminal charges you are facing. Our Attorneys are experienced in helping clients accused of the criminal offenses from DUI and Misdemeanors to Felonies in Iowa, Illinois and Federal Courts. In addition to Criminal Defense, our Attorneys and Staff are also help clients seal or expunge their criminal record and assist in reinstating the Driving Privileges. 

What will an Attorney do for me?

An experienced Criminal Defense Attorney does much more than just walk a client through a guilty plea. Our Criminal Defense can Attorneys are skilled in:

• Negotiating  “deals” with prosecutors, often arranging for reduced charges and lesser sentences. By contrast, prosecutors may be uncooperative with self-represented defendants.

• Formulating sentencing programs tailored to a client’s specific needs, often helping defendants avoid future brushes with the criminal justice system.

• Helping defendants cope with the feelings of fear, embarrassment, reduced self-esteem, and anxiety that criminal charges tend to produce in many people.

• Providing defendants with a reality check—a knowledgeable, objective perspective on their situation and what is likely to happen should their cases go to trial. This perspective is vital for defendants trying to decide whether to accept a prosecutor’s offered plea bargain.

• Are familiar with important legal rules that people representing themselves would find almost impossible to locate on their own, because many criminal law rules are hidden away in court interpretations of federal and state statutes and constitutions. For example, understanding what may constitute an unreasonable search and seizure often requires familiarity with a vast array of state and federal appellate court opinions.

• Are familiar with local court customs and procedures that are not written down anywhere. For example, a defense lawyer may know which prosecutor has the real authority to settle a case and what kinds of arguments are likely to appeal to that prosecutor.

• Understanding  the possible hidden costs of pleading guilty that a self-represented person might never think about.

• Spending the time on a case that a defendant cannot afford to spend. Defendants who can afford to hire a lawyer usually have jobs, and therefore lack the time (and energy) to devote to such time-consuming activities as gathering and examining documents, doing legal research, and talking to witnesses.

• Gather information from prosecution witnesses. Witnesses often fear people accused of crimes and therefore refuse to speak to people representing themselves. Witnesses are more likely to talk to defense attorneys or their investigators.

• Hire and manage investigators. Investigators may be able to believably impeach (contradict) prosecution witnesses who embellish their stories at trial. By contrast, it is far less effective for a defendant to testify that “the prosecution witness told me something different before trial.”

Do I need to hire an attorney if I plan on pleading guilty?

Regardless of what you plan on pleading, it is vital you hire a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. Representing yourself in court is never a good idea, as the prosecution seeks to bring the harshest penalties possible in criminal cases. An attorney from our firm can help you obtain a lighter sentence, or minimize / completely eliminate your criminal charges, if possible.

Is there a difference between probation and parole?

Yes, there is a difference between probation and parole. Probation is an alternative to prison, while parole is a shortened amount of time spent in prison. When you are sentenced to probation, you can suspend your jail time in exchange for following specific terms. Said terms can include checking in with a probation office on a regular basis, attending rehab programs, and / or attending your job / school. Parole is designed to help individuals complete their criminal sentence outside of jail if they have already completed a portion of their prison sentence.

When I am arrested, should I speak with a police officer?

After you are arrested, it is advised you do not speak with any police officer prior to hiring an attorney. Many individuals do not realize they are not required to give a statement or confession to a police officer. You have the right to remain silent, as well as the right to a lawyer. To ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case, you should invoke said rights as soon as possible. Police officers often try to use anything you said against you in court, which can be detrimental to your case.

Is there a difference between a felony and misdemeanor charge?

A felony is punishable by one or more years in prison. When charged with a misdemeanor, you are not facing a prison sentence longer than one year. Misdemeanor crimes are often considered less serious than felonies according to the criminal justice system. However, regardless of what type of criminal charges you are facing, it is still imperative you hire a lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.

What is the difference between a dismissal and an expungement?

A dismissal can occur when a prosecutor drops your case. This can happen after the assistant district attorney reviews your case and decides the evidence against you isn’t strong enough or your case is not worth prosecution. In certain situations, a dismissal can be given if you perform community service or attend specific classes.
An expungement is when your case is erased. The court records relating to your case are destroyed and you can truthfully state on job and loan applications that you have never been convicted of a criminal charge. Expungements are hard to obtain, however, so if you wish to learn if an expungement is available for your past criminal conviction, you will need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Contact Hanna & Ruud, LLC Today

Hanna & Ruud, LLC Attorneys at Law has a long track record of helping clients with legal issues in the Quad Cities area. Our Illinois and and Iowa criminal defense attorneys are ready to put our legal knowledge and experience to work for local citizens and visitors who encounter legal problems in Rock Island, Henry, Scott, Whiteside, Mercer, Clinton and surrounding counties in Illinois and Iowa. Licensed in Illinois, Iowa, and Federal Courts. 

To learn more about our legal services and how we can assist with your criminal law matter, give us a call:


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Hanna & Ruud, LLC – Quad Cities based Criminal Defense Law Firm • DUI/OWI/Drunk Driving offenses • Traffic Tickets cases • Felonies • Misdemeanors • Expungement • Drivers License Reinstatement 
Illinois • Iowa • Federal Courts Criminal Defense & DUI Attorneys Hanna & Ruud, LLC