If you’ve been charged with DUI in the state of South Carolina, you should know that the penalties are quite severe. In some states, there are no mandatory jail sentences for misdemeanor DUI convictions. Many other states also limit their fines to a couple of thousands of dollars. This isn’t the case in South Carolina. Not only do all convictions entail a minimum jail sentence, but the fines can exceed $10,000. The reason so many defendants hire a Spartanburg DUI attorney is because they want to avoid these penalties if at all possible.
Our goal is to do our best to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor. Depending on whether this is your first offense, and depending on the facts of your case, this may or may not be possible. It’s difficult to convince the State that you’re not a risk to society when you had three DUI convictions in the last five years. However, if this is your first and only charge for drunk driving, there is a chance that your attorney will be able to negotiate a plea deal or get the charges dismissed altogether.
Here, we will discuss the specific penalties for DUI based on your level of offense. If you still have questions about your own drunk driving case, contact our office so you can set up an appointment with one of our criminal defense attorneys in South Carolina.
Of Course, Your Spartanburg DUI Attorney Will Try to Poke Holes in the State’s Case
Knowing that you’re facing some rather harsh penalties, your Spartanburg DUI attorney is going to do their best to poke holes in the State’s case. Your attorney will know ahead of time what kind of evidence the State has. This is because the prosecutor’s required to turn over any information during the discovery process.
Once your attorney knows what evidence they have against you, they can build a defense that chips away at every piece of evidence the State may have in support of the DUI conviction. For example, if the state’s argument is that they have a receipt showing that you purchased twelve drinks at a local bar just hours before your arrest, your criminal defense attorney in South Carolina will challenge this.
They can have your friends testify that almost all the drinks were purchased for them. They’ll speak to the bartender who can testify that you only had one drink but happened to pay for the entire group. It’s little things like this that can make her break your case. Unless you’re an experienced Spartanburg DUI attorney, you wouldn’t even know where to start to find this kind of evidence.
If You Get a DUI Conviction, The Penalties are Swift and Severe
As much as nobody wants to entertain the idea of you being convicted, it’s only fair that you know what the penalties are for DUI in South Carolina. Your first, second and third DUI convictions are considered misdemeanors under the law. This means that any mandatory minimum sentence is going to be low. If you happen to be convicted for a fourth time, then it will be considered a felony. The same is true if you were arrested for DUI after being involved in a traffic accident.
The penalties given for DUI conviction in South Carolina are as follows:
Fines of $400 or a jail sentence of anywhere from 2 to 30 days
Driver’s license suspension of 6 months
Fines of anywhere between $2,100 and $5,100 plus a jail sentence of five days to one year
1 year driver’s license suspension
mandatory ignition interlock device
Fines of $3,800 to $6,300 as well as a jail sentence of 60 days to three years
2-year driver’s license suspension
Your license suspension will be four years if you had a DUI conviction in the last five years
Installation of an ignition interlock device
1-5 years in jail
Fines of between $5,000 and $10,000
Permanent revocation of your driver’s license
As you can see, even for a first offense DUI conviction, the penalties are swift and severe. If there’s any way to avoid a conviction, you need to take advantage of it. This means you should hire an experienced Spartanburg DUI attorney.
Your Professional Life Can Also Be Affected by a Conviction
In addition to the criminal penalties discussed here, you will also suffer consequences in your professional life. For example, if you are a commercial driver, you could very well lose your job if you’re convicted of DUI. If you are applying to a school program such as law school or medical school, they may decline your acceptance because of a DUI conviction. This is just evidence that a conviction for DUI can derail your life for years to come. This is why it’s extremely important that you consider hiring a criminal defense attorney in South Carolina.
With So Much at Stake, You Should Retain a Criminal Defense Attorney in South Carolina
We understand that there’s a certain temptation to represent yourself in your DUI case. Some people figure they’re going to have to pay fines anyway, so why pay additional money to a Spartanburg DUI attorney. What you need to realize is that having an attorney makes the difference between getting a DUI conviction and having the charges dropped. Not only do our criminal defense attorneys in South Carolina know the law, but they also have working relationships with the prosecutor’s office. They know what it takes to negotiate a fair plea deal with the prosecutor. They also have decades of combined experience handling these types of cases and know the best way to chip away at the State’s case.
If you have recently been charged with DUI, whether it’s your first or your fourth, you should really consider talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney in South Carolina. Not only will they give you the peace of mind you need right now, but they could be the only thing standing between a harsh jail sentence and possible probation.