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Legal Biography

Whether your case is a serious or lesser-class felony, misdemeanor, traffic matter, Juvenile Court case, or an Expungement, Bruce has been defending the accused in these precise matters since 1987.  His work extends regularly into Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County. From Aurora to Elgin, Batavia, St. Charles, Geneva, Yorkville, Montgomery, Elburn, Big Rock, DeKalb, Cortland, Sycamore, Wheaton, and all surrounding communities.

With the more serious felony cases, as well as misdemeanor of felony DUIs and Domestic Battery cases, clients need to know just how complex our legislators have made our statutes. This includes, in particular, sentencing requirements and rules of evidence. DUI for example now since January 1, 2009, has the Breath-Activated Ignition Device mandatory in all first-time DUI cases. You need to know the details in order to survive and succeed. For example – did you know that if you are charged with a DUI for the first time and your driver’s license is expired one day – just because you forgot to renew it, that you can be charged with a felony?

And even misdemeanors can have long-term consequences: employment, new charges that can be enhanced to a felony because of that misdemeanor, or the loss of your ability to lawfully own a firearm. Misdemeanors also expose the client to requirements of counseling or public service work – or else the client may face up to 364 days in a county jail. So please—do not dismiss your misdemeanor as “just” a misdemeanor. You need an attorney who will review your case in detail and all ways to defend you, even if your charge is “just” a misdemeanor.

Bruce Steinberg graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He then earned his law degree from the Loyola School of Law, Chicago. While his original intent was to practice health care law, he found his work at Loyola Law School’s Legal Clinic much more enjoyable. The ability to help people, then and now, has been far too satisfying to ignore.

Knowing nobody in Kane County, Bruce got his foot in the door with the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office in January 1987 with a part-time position. When suddenly the head assistant prosecutor running the Elgin Branch Court left the office to work for the FBI, Bruce, just a month in, took over the head prosecutor’s work in the Elgin Branch Court.

But after two months the head of the Kane County Public Defender’s Office offered a full-time position. On a Friday, Bruce was a prosecutor. The next Monday he was a defense attorney, and has remained so ever since.

Bruce’s first assignment was in juvenile court, and at most times he was the only defense attorney in that courtroom. He handled abuse and neglect cases, sometimes representing the best interests of the child, other times a parent. He also represented delinquency cases (juvenile criminal prosecutions) and on Fridays defended people at commitment hearings held in the Elgin Mental Health Center. During this time he helped dedicated parents who worked to straighten out their lives to get their children back from the Department of Children and Family Services, as well as worked with others to help protect children in cases in which the home environment remained too dangerous.

Together with dedicated judges, prosecutors and juvenile court probation officers, Bruce worked hard to get cases moving, setting matters for trial when the client wanted a trial. He also learned the facts of a case quickly to get the best offers possible from the prosecution, and got the offers quickly to his clients so they had time to consider them well before their court dates.

The result was a low juvenile youth home population, at times down to 4 individuals.

After juvenile court, Bruce’s next assignments in misdemeanor courts were brief because in 1991 a position opened up for a felony assistant public defender. His first case was a statute of limitations motion to dismiss—and he won using charts and graphs of the case law compared to his client’s case, to the shock of the experienced prosecutor.

It was in juvenile court where Bruce first began his expertise in pre-trial motion practice, filing and prevailing on many motions to quash arrest as well as motions to suppress statements. The key was, and remains, to look everywhere and at every word of each document in a case, even where nobody else may think to look. If there was a reason why a prosecution could be knocked out before trial, Bruce had earned a reputation as the one who could find it. For this reason, he became Kane County’s first “drug case defense czar” under a federal grant.

Bruce became the attorney responsible for published Illinois Appellate Court opinions, People v. Harper, People v. Woods, and People v. Spann, which protect citizens who are arrested simply because they are at or near a bad neighborhood or alleged drug house. And the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Court opinions in People v. Newberry, which require dismissal of cases under certain circumstances when evidence is destroyed.

Along the way, however, Bruce was always careful to push for drug treatment for clients, and was the attorney handling nearly all the TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Special Clients) applications and hearings for the Kane County Public Defender’s Office.

Unfortunately it had become police practice to charge intent to deliver, in Bruce’s opinion, far too often. The difference between convictions for intent to deliver drugs versus convictions for possession only means the difference between prison and the opportunity for probation with drug counseling.

Bruce first noticed the way police “expert” testimony on intent changed from one officer to the next. And the officers’ testimony far too conveniently changed from one case to the next fit the facts of the case. For example – an officer on the Aurora side of Kane County would say that drugs found in one large package means intent to deliver while another officer on the Elgin side would say drugs found in several smaller and separate packages means intent to deliver.

The truth, of course, is that however dealers sell drugs is how buyers buy them. The police just weren’t going to admit this fact.

To battle back against such testimony, Bruce began to gather trial transcripts to confront one officer’s “expert” testimony with the vastly differing testimony from another police expert. Bruce then sought out former clients who had gained recovery from their addiction, many of whom now led good, drug-free lives, a few becoming counselors themselves. Bruce asked these people and others to testify and counter officer testimony (that nearly every situation was intent to deliver) to what they knew, having been addicts and now counselors.

The thankful result has been that Bruce has earned not guilties repeatedly for his clients on intent to deliver, which only then permitted them to receive probation and the counseling they needed to turn their lives around.

After Bruce left the public defender’s office in 1996, his dedication continued into private practice, remaining active and dedicated to fighting cases with motions to quash and suppress statements and evidence, as well as trials.

However, the ability to work respectfully with prosecutors as opposed to having a constant enemy mentality is important. This allows negotiations to proceed as effectively as possible to help a client gain a plea offer he or she wants if the client prefers not to go to trial.

Also in private practice, Bruce has handled several appeals in abuse and neglect cases, as well as in criminal law. While many of his appellate cases are decisions (like a lot of appellate decisions) that are not published, they have involved the rights that you care about most - your freedom from government intrusion.

More recently, in the published opinion of People v. Beverly, Bruce successfully fought against trespass agreements the Aurora Police Department made with landlords. Some members of the Aurora Police Department used these agreements to justify stopping people for no other reason than that the police officer didn’t recognize them. While this unlawful practice has not ended entirely, the existence of the Beverly opinion has given all such defendants and their attorneys throughout the state a strong tool when these agreements are used to justify arrests.

No attorney can guarantee a victory, or can always obtain what all his or her clients want. Any attorney promising otherwise, well, you should know the answer to that one. What Bruce promises is this: his dedication to look for all ways to achieve your goal. To tell you the truth and inform you what must be done and all options and strategies available to increase your chances of success. Also—to make absolutely certain that legal fees are neither a mystery nor stand in the way of what you want to do.

There are no hourly rates. There are no fees charged for court dates no matter how many court dates your case takes.

And an invitation for an entirely free and complete consultation for you to get your own sense of Bruce Steinberg so that you may make up your own mind without the sort of salesman-styled pressure no one wants to deal with.