States across the US have enacted DUI laws prohibiting residents from driving while intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or other substances. South Carolina state law makes it illegal for people to drive motor vehicles within the state while they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of drugs and other substances which can materially and appreciably impair the person’s faculties to drive. A person who violates the provision is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence.
Penalties for DUI in South Carolina
At the time of the arrest, the arresting officer will confiscate the offender’s license and issue a notice of suspension. Other punishments for the crime differ according to the offender’s prior DUI offenses (previous offenses are those committed within a period of 10 years immediately preceding the date of the current offense), and Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).
|Minimum Punishments, i.e., When BAC is at least 0.08%||When BAC is more than 0.10% but less than 0.16%||When BAC is 0.16% or higher|
|First offense||A fine of $400 and imprisonment for not less than 48 hours and not more than 30 days||A fine of $500 and imprisonment for not less than 72 hours but not more than 30 days||A fine of $1000 and imprisonment for not less than 30 days but not more than 90 days|
|Second offense||A fine, not less than $2100 but not more than $5100 and imprisonment for not less than 5 days but not more than 1 year||A fine not less than $2500 but not more than $5500 and 30 days but not more than 2 years||A fine, not less than $3500 but not more than $6500 and imprisonment for not less than 90 days but not more than 3 years|
|Third offense||A fine, not less than $3800 but not more than $6300 and imprisonment for not less than 60 days but not more than 3 years||A fine, not less than $5000 but not more than $7000 and imprisonment for not less than 90 days but not more than 4 years||A fine, not less than $7500 but not more than $10,000 and imprisonment for not less than 6 months but not more than five years|
|Fourth or subsequent offense||Imprisonment for not less than 1 year but not more than 5 years||Imprisonment for not less than 2 years but not more than 6 years||Imprisonment for not less than 3 years but not more than 7 years|
Additionally, the offender must enroll in and complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, which he/she would pay for. The cost of the program is however controlled by the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services which caps it at $2500.
What Defenses Can My DUI Lawyer Use
When faced with a DUI charge, there are several defenses your DUI defense attorney can use to get you off the hook.
- The Arrest or Detention was Not Lawful: Your lawyer can argue that the officer had no legal cause to arrest or detain you. DUI arrests often start with traffic stops for traffic violations. He must also show probable cause to arrest you; this may be slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, or poor performance on field sobriety tests. If the officer cannot show that he had probable cause to stop and subsequently arrest you, the charges may be dropped.
- You were not impaired to the point where it materially and appreciably affected your ability to drive.
- You were not driving the car.
- The officer did not obey SC laws which mandate him to video tape the arrest from the time he pulled you over to the breathalyzer test.
- The offender’s BAC was less than 0.08% at the time of testing.
- The machine was not working correctly.
- The person who took the test was not qualified to do so.
How A DUI Lawyer Can Help You
Conviction on a DUI charge can be disastrous for your finances, so it’s best to hire an expert DUI attorney ASAP. A DUI defense lawyer knows the SC laws and how to work with it to get you your desired outcome. Asides preparing an immaculate defense, your DUI lawyer can enter a plea bargain to get you a reduced charge and save you a lot of money.
If you’re charged with a DUI in Greenville SC, its best to contact your DUI lawyer at The Bateman Firm immediately, having a good DUI defense attorney is the first step to getting a favorable outcome.