If you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI, you probably have a dozen questions going through your mind. Unless you’ve been through the process before, you probably have no idea what’s about to happen. This is why it’s a good idea to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Clemson as soon as possible after your arrest. You can go online and search for the “best DUI defense attorney near me” or you can ask a family member to reach out to us directly. The things you do in the hours following your arrest will make a big difference down the road.
There’s a standard process for how DUIs are handled in South Carolina. Here, we will explain what that process is after you’ve been charged with DUI and how you can best prepare for each step. We will also discuss why it’s a good idea to have a criminal defense attorney from Clemson by your side throughout the process.
If you or one of your family members have been arrested and charged with DUI and you’re scared and worried about what to do next, give us a call. We can arrange to have one of our associates meet you in jail if need be. We’ll do whatever we can to make the process as painless as possible. We will also prepare you for the worst-case scenario.
You Will Have to Spend Some Time in Jail After Being Charged With DUI
One of the first questions our clients ask us is whether they’ll have to spend time in jail. Like it or not, almost everybody who’s arrested and charged with DUI in Clemson will have to spend at least a few hours in jail.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be arrested during the week so that your attorney can request a hearing with the judge the very next day. Unfortunately, most DUI arrests take place on the weekend hours when there are no judges available. This means that there is a chance that you could spend at least one or two days in jail before your criminal defense attorney in Clemson can get you out.
The best thing you can do is to be calm and to listen to what your attorney tells you to do. If the worst thing that happens is that you spend a night in jail, then you should consider yourself lucky. Some people who are charged with DUI end up being sentenced to months or even years in jail. The goal of your criminal defense attorney in Clemson is to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Your Criminal Defense Attorney in Clemson Will Attend Initial Appearance with You
In the hours or days after your arrest, your criminal defense attorney in Clemson is going to attend your first appearance hearing after you’ve been charged with DUI. The only thing that typically happens during this hearing is your attorney will let the court know they’re representing you and you’ll let the judge know how you plead. In most cases, our clients initially plead not guilty.
Until your criminal defense lawyer in Clemson has had a chance to review all of the state’s evidence, it makes no sense to plead guilty when charged with DUI. This doesn’t mean that your attorney won’t try to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor in the meantime.
Depending on your criminal history and the facts surrounding your DUI arrest, your attorney may be able to get the prosecutor to agree to a favorable plea. For example, if your BAC was barely over the legal limit, they may be able to get the prosecutor to reduce the charges to reckless driving. If you refused to take the breathalyzer but passed the field sobriety test, they may be able to get the charges reduced as well. It is unusual for a prosecutor to agree to dismiss the charges altogether at this early stage.
Worst Case, Your Case Will Go to Trial
If your attorney is unable to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor after you’re charged with DUI, your case will inevitably go to trial. You do have the option of requesting a jury trial which our criminal defense lawyers in Clemson recommend you do. You have a much better chance of convincing a jury that you’re not guilty then you do it convincing the judge.
The judge has had a chance to review all of the information the state has gathered regarding your case once you’re charged with DUI. They’re also privy to intimate facts of your DUI arrest as well as your criminal history. When a jury is deciding your case, they typically don’t have access to all this information. The only information they’re allowed to consider in their decision is evidence that is deemed admissible in court.
Keep in mind, just because your case goes to trial, that does not mean your criminal defense lawyer in Clemson will give up trying to negotiate a favorable plea after you’re charged with DUI. Up until the day of trial, your attorney will continue to reach out to the prosecutor and see what their position is.
You’ll Be Found Guilty or Will Be Acquitted at Trial
Once your case goes to trial, the judge or the jury will make a decision regarding your guilt or innocence. In most DUI cases, the prosecution has ample evidence to prove your guilt. Your criminal defense lawyer in Clemson will have to poke holes in the state case in order to earn you an acquittal.
For example, if they can show that the breathalyzer test was faulty or had not been properly calibrated when you were arrested and charged with DUI, they may be able to convince a jury that you were not guilty. The same may be true if the field sobriety test was not conducted properly or you had a medical condition to explain why you performed poorly.
Your attorney will do whatever they can to convince the judge or jury that you’re not guilty. At the conclusion of your trial, a final decision will be made, and you’ll learn whether you’ve been convicted or not. If you are convicted, the judge will typically issue his sentence then and there and you’ll know your fate.
Search for the “Best DUI Defense Attorney Near Me” Right Away
We recommend that as soon as you are arrested and charged with DUI, you go online and perform a search for the “best DUI defense attorney near me.” Our firm will be at the top of your list, and you can find our contact information there.
Give us a call so we can arrange a meeting with one of our best criminal defense attorneys in Clemson as soon as possible after your arrest. With so much at stake, it’s not in your best interest to attempt to handle this on your own.