A felony is a type of criminal charge that is considered more than just a misdemeanor. A felony DUI can be one that either leads to injuring someone seriously or leads to his/her death due to negligent behavior (i.e., driving under influence).
Many factors can turn your DUI charge from a misdemeanor to a felony DUI in Greenville, South Carolina.
Many road accidents in South Carolina take away the right to safety of the people on the road due to distracted driving. In a similar case, a 23-year-old woman driving under influence hit another SUV car from the rear, which led to the death of a 21-year-old, as she succumbed to her injuries.
Keeping such incidents in mind and safeguarding the right of other people on the road, a drunk driving case in South Carolina can also be considered a felony in certain circumstances. These include:
When an Accident Causes Bodily Injury or Death
Why should you have fun at the cost of someone else’s life? Therefore, according to a South Carolina law, if a drunk driving accident causes another person’s death or serious bodily injury, it would be considered a felony.
Bodily injury in such pretext is defined as an injury that resulted in permanent disfigurement of any body part, loss or impairment of an organ, or any injury that increases the chances of death.
A felony DUI charge means a mandatory jail time for at least 30 days that can be extended to 15 years. It also involves payment of fines that can range from $5100 to $10,100 depending on the accident’s severity.
Drunk Driving Alongside a Minor Passenger
The person at fault will be charged with child endangerment and DUI charges if the car has a passenger under 16 years of age.
If the child is seriously injured or died due to the accident, it will automatically be considered a felony. Therefore, the defendant has to bear the felony charges all and above DUI charges.
The felony charges in such cases would include imprisonment time of up to half of the imprisonment time in case of DUI charges. Also, it will consist of payment of fines up to half the maximum fines paid in case of DUI charges.
If It’s A Third-Time Drunk Driving Offense
In South Carolina, a third-time drunk driving offense will automatically be considered a felony.
A third DUI conviction in South Carolina is taken strictly. The charges include at least mandatory three years of imprisonment and fines up to $12000 if the blood alcohol content is less than 0.10.
The penalties can even go higher depending on the blood alcohol content.
Other DUI Policies in South Carolina
From being 2nd worst state in DUI cases to being 8th presently, South Carolina has come a long way in improvising its drunk driving stats.
This has become possible due to the strict administrative laws put in place. A person charged with a felony will still be charged with administrative penalties as well.
As per the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, even a second offense DUI can have an indefinite license suspension. Also, first offense DUI would mean at least six months of license suspension.
It has also been proposed that anyone who is convicted of a DUI offense should have an IID (ignition interlock device) installed in their car. This device ensures that the driver is not drunk before starting the ignition. The driver has to blow breath into the device. It acts as a mobile breathalyzer that locks in the car if you are drunk.
Also, a felony DUI conviction in South Carolina means higher auto insurance premiums. You will have to pay the premium at a higher percentage than people who are clear from DUI charges. As a DUI convict, you may also have to obtain an SR-22 insurance certificate. This certificate is needed to get your license reinstated.
A Felony DUI conviction also goes to your criminal record. This creates more problems than you can imagine. It makes it difficult to get a job, getting a house loan, and much more.
How Can an Attorney Help You?
To a defendant, an attorney can help in minimizing your charges if not eliminating them wholly. They can work upon getting your driving license back, reducing the jail time, and altering it with spending time in community services and such.
To a plaintiff, a car accident lawyer can help recover the compensation for the loss and damages.
If you are facing a felony DUI in Greenville, South Carolina, contact us today.