What's so great about me?

I have been practicing criminal defense for over 35 years. My unique background and street experience as a police officer and detective gives me an exceptional edge in the criminal law department. In my 14 years "On the Street" I handled many types of investigation: reckless homicides, homicides, burglaries, DUIs, rape investigations, accident investigations, bombing investigations, and home invasions to name a few.

Full Name:
Neil L. Calanca


Neil Calanca profile picture
314 W. Clayton St. Waukegan, Il 60085


[email protected]

What I do?

In the 35 years I have been practicing criminal defense, I have come to specialize in, but am not limited to, four categories. My experience as a defense attorney, police officer, and detective ensures my knowledge of the entire system.

Criminal Defense
DUI Defense
Driver's License Reinstatement (formal hearings)
Personal Injury and Worker Compensation

Neil L. Calanca standing next to a book case.

With my experience, I know the protocol for the "crime scene investigation" and can eloquently point out to a jury where the police went wrong in the investigation. While a detective, I was a member of the Illinois Evidence Technicians Association. The people skills developed in actually investigating crimes carries over to the jury when they see an experienced attorney pointing out the lack of proper investigating techniques by the arresting authorities.

Some criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors, which is great experience, but they were never on the actual crime scene. They never got their "hands dirty" interviewing witnesses, dusting for fingerprints, or doing the meticulous follow up work on an investigation to make a case.

I have vast experience in trying many types of cases – everything from traffic to murder trials. I am not afraid to take cases to trial in front of a jury. I have no associates. When you hire me, I am your lawyer. You will not get pawned off on some lawyer you never met before. I am available to clients 24/7. When you call, I will answer the phone 90% of the time, cell and office. I give personalized service to all clients, one of the many reasons I am a successful attorney.

I have over 35 years of experience with License Reinstatement Hearings with a high success rate. I am the specialist that can take you to the Secretary of State Formal Hearing Division and help you navigate these complicated proceedings.

man stopped by police

If the police question you about anything!

1. Be polite and respectful but keep your mouth shut! Call me!

2. Do not volunteer any information without your lawyer being present.

3. There are two things you can do when the police talk to you: You can tell them the truth and you are in trouble or you can lie to them and you are in trouble.  Keep your mouth shut!

4. The police will promise you things and threaten you with many things, but keep your mouth shut! even if it means spending a night in jail! Call me!

man being given a field sobriety test


1. If you get stopped by the police and they ask you where you have been or if you have been drinking, it is game on for DUI. Keep your mouth shut and do not answer any questions (be polite). Remember that they are trained to elicit information to make a case against you. It is human nature to want to cooperate with the police and they know that, so do not make their job easy.

2. Never admit to drinking.

3. Never take field sobriety tests. You are not obligated to take these tests under the law and you can refuse them. If the police tell you they will let you go if you pass, do not believe them!

4. Never take a portable breath test on the street or at the station.

5. Never take the breathalyzer, Call me!

6. For GODs sake, when they read you your rights, exercise your right to remain silent, and have a lawyer present.

In my 40 plus years in the criminal arena, on both sides, I have never, ever heard of the police taking you home after you gave them a statement. Keep your mouth shut!

License Reinstatement Hearings

When you lose your driver’s license, you need to reinstate your privileges through a formal hearing process.

This is a very complicated process that involves three attorneys: one for the Petitioner seeking reinstatement, one representing the State of Illinois, and a Hearing Officer who makes the decision. The preparation for these hearings is intense and precise and needs to be conducted by a competent attorney.

This hearing also involves the Federal Rules of Evidence and is no place to be without an experienced attorney representing your rights.

Over the past 35 years, I have participated in hundreds of these hearings with a 95% success rate! I have even taught other attorneys how to conduct these hearings, but why hire the student when you can get the instructor. If for some reason you are denied, I will take you to the next hearing free of charge.

Personal Injury

I work closely with the law firm of Robert Goshgarian regarding any and all personal injury, medical malpractice, and work related injury cases. These cases are complicated. You need a specialized attorney acting on your behalf. The insurance companies have attorneys representing them, and you definitely need someone on your side. I will personally introduce you to Attorney Goshgarian and assist you through the process of achieving a settlement.

Contact Me

314 West Clayton Street
Waukegan, Illinois 60085
Phone: 847.249.7500
Mobile: 847.651.3518
Fax: 847.249.7575
E-mail: [email protected]