DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
The State of South Carolina takes Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol very seriously, and a DUI conviction can result in severe criminal, social, and economic consequences. It is imperative for you to know your rights regardless of guilt or innocence, and to seek legal counsel. At Williams & Walsh, we review every aspect of your case in preparation of your defense.
An arrest for DUI can result in the immediate suspension of your driver’s license, and could potentially result in jail time. A DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record for your lifetime, and the consequences from a conviction can affect your insurance rates, security clearance, employment status etc. depending on the circumstances of your particular situation.
Under the Implied Consent Law in South Carolina, a driver that gets stopped and ultimately finds themselves under the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is subject to having a chemical test administered to them upon their arrest for a DUI. However, a driver retains the inherent constitutional right to refuse a chemical test such as a Breathalyzer Test. Under certain circumstances under the law such as inflicting serious bodily injury to another while allegedly driving impaired, a blood test may be taken without the issuance of a search warrant. Regardless of which test(s) is administered, the results of the tests are admissible as evidence in a court of law.
The legal limit in South Carolina for a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% for driver 21 years of age or older and 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21; however, keep in mind that you can get arrested for a DUI while under the influence of drugs as well.
A DUI charge can be overwhelming for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that in South Carolina, you are subject to both criminal and civil penalties as a result of an arrest for DUI. With respect to civil penalties, if you refused to participate and submit a breath sample during the Breathalyzer Test or you registered a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driving privileges in South Carolina for 6 months for a refusal and 30 days for a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher.
However, you can request an Administrative Hearing with the South Carolina Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings within 30 days of the date of your arrest to challenge the legality of the stop and the probable cause for the arrest. Requesting an Administrative Hearing entitles you to a temporary alcohol license and lifts the suspension pending the outcome of the Administrative Hearing. Failure to request an Administrative Hearing will result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license and the loss of your right to a hearing. It is important to understand that even if your license is suspended, you can still successfully defeat the DUI charge.
You are entitled to have either a Bench Trial or a Jury Trial in the city, county, or town in which you were arrested for the criminal charge. With respect to the criminal penalties, a DUI conviction could result in the following: (1) fines that range from $400 up to $10,000; (2) mandatory minimum jail sentences ranging from 48 hours up to 3 years; (3) driver’s license suspension from 6 months up to permanent suspension; (4) mandatory community service; (5) mandatory attendance in an alcohol and substance abuse counseling program; (6) mandatory SR-22 insurance that results in the doubling or tripling of insurance rates; and/or (7) license reinstatement fees.
Moreover, a criminal conviction could have a long-term effect on employment opportunities, result in the loss of employment due to loss of security clearance etc., prevent you from renting a motor vehicle, and even potentially traveling to another country.
At Williams & Walsh, LLC, we have years of experience in defending clients accused of Felony DUI, DUI or Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) in South Carolina. We can assist you in fighting your license suspension with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and fighting your DUI charge in court. With our team of DUI experts, we will carefully examine all aspects of your defense, including the initial stop of your vehicle, the administration and results of the field sobriety tests and the Breathalyzer Test, and the determination of probable cause for your arrest for DUI.
Our goal is for you to emerge from this crisis without a stigma or conviction which cannot be expunged from your criminal record.
Please contact us at (843) 722-0157 to speak to a DUI defense attorney.