A DUI citation can be a life-changing experience affecting your financial and social standing. You may be slapped with heavy fines, face possible jail-time and have your license suspended for a period. The jail time can range from a few days to a few years depending on whether it’s the first, second or subsequent offense. A DUI offense also becomes a part of your criminal record. In South Carolina, a DUI citation stays on your record for ten years. During this period, auto insurers may classify you as a higher risk. Consequently, you have to pay higher auto insurance premiums. You may also face some difficulty in securing a property or a job as long as the DUI stays on your record. These are serious penalties, but it may be possible to get your DUI charges reduced.
It is highly recommended that you hire a DUI attorney at the earliest after a DUI citation. Following are some great ways of mitigating the impact of a DUI citation.
Explore the Option of Plea Bargain
A DUI plea bargain is when you agree to a DUI charge in return for a reduced sentence. For instance, if you are charged with DUI and you choose plea bargain, you may be sentenced for reckless or wrong-lane driving. This saves you from getting a DUI citation on your record. A plea bargain makes sense in cases where the state lacks evidence or if the state’s case against you is not fool-proof. It is important to consult your attorney before you agree to a plea bargain.
Choose Rehab Time Instead of Jail Time
The penalties for a DUI offense include jail time ranging from a few days to a few years. You may have the jail-time waived if it’s your first DUI citation. But if the DUI case also involves accident or injury, you will likely face certain jail-time. Similarly, second or third DUI offenses typically carry mandatory jail-time.
Jail-time can leave a blot on your social standing and reputation. The good news is that you can avoid jail-time by opting for a court-mandated rehab program. Depending on your case, the judge may allow you to enroll in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. Most rehab programs are inpatient, which means that you are required to stay at the stipulated facility. The duration of the program is the same as the jail term you would otherwise face.
Accept Probation Instead of Jail-Time
If you have been booked for a first DUI offense, you may be able to choose probation instead of jail-time. You can avail this option if you have no previous criminal offenses on your record. Probation typically involves attending a DUI education class, submitting probation fees and meeting a probation officer. You also agree to have your license suspended for the probationary period.
Attend a DUI Education Class
Another way you can have your DUI penalties mitigated is by attending a DUI education class. In most DUI convictions, drivers face license suspension. You may be able to have your license reinstated sooner by completing a DUI education class. Your attorney may also propose enrolling in such a DUI program as an alternative to jail time.
Get Your DUI Charges Expunged
If your DUI citation involves a minor offense, you may be able to have the charges expunged altogether. Having your DUI charges expunged means that they don’t appear on your criminal record. So you don’t have to face higher insurance premiums or other problems associated with a DUI citation. Expungement of DUI charges is usually available if it’s your first-time offense and you choose probation.
You can also seek expungement if your case is under deferred adjudication. This means that the court will give a judgment on your case after a specific period. During this period, you can undergo probation and DUI educational programs to show your willingness to make amends. The court may then rule to have your DUI charges erased.
Highlight Legal Lapses
Many DUI convictions have legal lapses. Strict legal regulations apply to all aspects of a DUI citation. These cover the time when a police officer stops you, tests you for DUI and arrests you. For instance, a breathalyzer test for blood alcohol concentration must be conducted on tape. If the police officer doesn’t videotape the procedure, your lawyer can have it dismissed. You can also discuss other possible legal lapses in your DUI citation and conviction. By having these identified and flagged in the court, you can have your DUI charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
How Can a Clemson, SC DUI Attorney Help you?
A qualified DUI attorney understands the state laws and regulations that apply to a DUI case. With this knowledge and legal experience, an attorney can help you defend yourself against a DUI charge. An attorney will also help you better counter the arguments of the prosecutor and seek reduced charges. Having an attorney on your side can make all the difference in getting lighter penalties in a DUI case.
Finding a DUI Lawyer in Clemson, SC
Here at The Bateman Firm, we explore options such as probation, DUI education classes and more to have your DUI charges reduced. We also work closely with you to understand the details of your DUI arrest and conviction. By analyzing these details, we identify potential legal lapses which can be used in your defense at a court of law. You can discuss your case in detail in a free consultation session with our attorneys. Contact us today to book a one-on-one meeting with our DUI lawyers.