Being arrested for a Lancaster County SC DUI can be both intimidating and frightening. Even the most law abiding citizen can be accused of and arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in South Carolina. In fact, almost 22,000 people were arrested last year in South Carolina for a DUI, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. However, being arrested does NOT mean you are automatically assumed guilty. You have rights! However, understanding the criminal justice system and the process that follows a Lancaster County DUI arrest is daunting.
Arrested for DUI in Lancaster County?
If you are arrested and charged with a DUI or DUAC in Lancaster County, then you should speak to an experienced South Carolina defense lawyer as soon as possible. A mere arrest can result in a suspension of your license. If you don’t act quickly, your driving privileges could be suspended for months. Contact our experienced defense attorneys within 30 days of your arrest to review your options. Our lawyers offer a free consultation to review your case.
Elements of Driving Under the Influence
The South Carolina Code of Laws states that it is unlawful for a person to:
- Drive a motor vehicle
- In the state of South Carolina
- While under the influence of drugs or alcohol
That all sounds very simple but it is most definitely not. The State has to prove all of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, which includes producing certain evidence crucial to a conviction. From the point when an officer activates his blue lights through a person being booked into jail, everything that happens is important and needs to be analyzed. Certain parts of this process must be on video and an officer’s failure to provide those videos could result in a non-conviction. Proving that a person was driving a vehicle while under the influence of some substance that impairs his or her ability to drive is a steep burden to prove.
Samples including breath, blood, or urine samples taken by an officer all must meet a certain standard. There is case law in South Carolina mandating what must be done for these samples to be used in court and if even the slightest thing goes wrong, they cannot be used in court. A breathalyzer test in particular is held to a very high standard and an officer must go through an exact process and have a working machine before a breath test can be allowed to be used against someone.
Even if the State has a strong case against you, an experienced defense attorney can help you negotiate lesser sentence or a plea bargain.
DUI Penalties in South Carolina
While certain criminal offenses in South Carolina are eligible for diversion programs (such as PTI), a DUI is not one of these crimes. If you are convicted of Driving under the Influence, 1st offense, you could face up to 90 days of jail time and up to a $1000 fine. You also may be required to enroll in drug and alcohol classes and face an increase in insurance fees. On top of that, your license automatically is suspended for 6 months.
If you already have a conviction for a DUI, subsequent arrests and convictions for DUIs can result in further fines and the possibility of jail time. At the worst, a conviction for a 4th offense DUI can result in a minimum of 3 years in jail based on your Blood Alcohol Concentration.
The general guidelines for DUI convictions are as follows:
- Dui 1st Offense: 2-90 days imprisonment and fines up to $1000
- DUI 2nd Offense: 5 days- 3 years imprisonment and fines up to $6,500
- DUI 3rd Offense: 60 days- 5 years imprisonment, fines up to $10,000, and a felony conviction
- DUI 4th Offense: 1-7 years imprisonment, fines up to $10,000, a permanent suspension of your license, and a felony conviction
Fight your Lancaster SC DUI
Get help fast for your Lancaster County DUI. For your FREE Consultation with a South Carolina DUI Lawyer, Call Now at (803) 351-3597 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org