In this episode, Attorney Julio Argueta joined me to discuss traffic and DUI offenses. We discussed how Attorney Argueta decided to become a lawyer, how he developed a show of his own that broadcasts from Waukegan, as well as the substantive issues regarding traffic, DUI offenses and Secretary of State issues.

Julio Argueta is a lawyer with Soffietti, Johnson, Teegen, Phillips & Argueta, Ltd, a full service law firm with offices in Waukegan and Fox Lake (847-978-4495 or 888-351-2429). Argueta specializes in traffic, DUI, criminal defense and real estate closings. Additionally, Argueta is bilingual, as are some of the support staff at his law firm. In addition to his legal practice, he has a radio show on the law.

Argueta knew from a young age that he wanted to be a lawyer, inspired by the role of Al Pacino in the movie, “And Justice for All”. He grew up in Chicago and the northern suburbs and attended the University of Illinois, playing football and majoring in history and Spanish. Upon graduation from college, he attended law school in Chicago at Loyola. He maintained a busy schedule attending class and working as a law clerk, as well as interning at the Cook County State’s Attorney. After passing the bar, he worked for 3 years for the Lake County State’s Attorney.

“La Hora de Julio Argueta” (The Julio Argueta Hour) has been on a Spanish language radio station, WPJX based in Waukegan, for 2 years. The station also serves as a community resource center as most of the radio shows serve to educate the public on different matters. Argueta feels the show is a great way to reach out to help and educate the public.

Traffic and DUI matters are Argueta’s biggest client base. His philosophy is that good people make mistakes and he is there to help them when needed. DUI and some traffic matters have 2 components; criminal and civil. Argueta is mindful of making sure clients understand the ramifications that a criminal matter such as a DUI or DWLS (driving while license suspended) has on administrative matters with the SOS (Secretary of State).

When asked about whether individuals could consider representing themselves without a lawyer for certain traffic matters, Argueta said that it might be reasonable in certain circumstances but it would probably be best to at least consult with a lawyer as laypersons might not understand the consequence a traffic offense could have on their driving privileges. Argueta’s law firm offers a free initial consultation to potential clients. Argueta always tries to be realistic and practical in advising clients about the process and about what to expect.

As previously mentioned, DUIs, license suspensions and revocations involve the criminal system as well as the SOS. Once there is such a criminal conviction, its impact affects driving privileges as these convictions are reported to the SOS. In Illinois, a DUI conviction will result in a driver’s license revocation. Moreover, suspension and revocations for other reasons than DUI occur, such as insurance requirements, child support, etc. Also, the SOS also holds formal and informal hearings for the status of licenses after such convictions. Thus, the lawyer’s role does not end with the criminal conviction of DUI, suspension or revocation.

Argueta has a special interest in handling DUIs. In 2008, he was convicted of a DUI. There was an accident causing injury to others, though thankfully, no one died. He was sued civilly, lost his driving privileges for a period of time and had to deal with the ARDC (the regulatory agency governing lawyers). Argueta has been very open about this experience as he wants to use his story to help others. He participated in a 12 Step program and he says that it helps him to help others. Additionally, Argueta is involved in the Lawyers Assistance Program which is a program for all Illinois lawyers who seek help in dealing with mental and substance abuse issues.