Drinking and driving is something that no one should ever do. However, it happens, and sometimes even reasonable, good people can suffer the lapses in judgment that come from the influence of alcohol and get behind the wheel. Facing a DUI charge in Easley, South Carolina, can be a very overwhelming experience. You will need to face a complex criminal justice system, and you will need to do so with an experienced DUI lawyer in Easley, South Carolina, who has the knowledge necessary to navigate the process. DUI charges are quite serious, and a conviction can entirely change your life.
For this reason, we urge you not to take any undue risks regarding your defense. While we cannot give legal advice via a blog, and no 2 DUI cases are the same, we hope to give you a basic idea of the reality of facing DUI charges here. The staff here at Bateman Law includes experienced South Carolina DUI attorney serving in Easley, who will review your case and advise as to the best route forward.
What Should I Do After Being Arrested for DUI in Easley, South Carolina?
Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a serious charge in South Carolina because doing so places not only yourself, but everyone on the road around you, at risk. By driving while drunk or impaired, you may find yourself responsible for severe injuries, serious property loss, or – at worst – the terrible reality of having taken a life. As such, the potential consequences for DUI are typically harsh, even if no injuries are involved.
The first step after you have been charged with DUI is to contact an Easley DUI lawyer. Your goal and the goal of your DUI defense lawyer will be to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. This outcome may include losing your driver’s license, or even jail time, and how it works out will largely depend upon the facts of your case and other factors which your DUI attorney will explain to you.
How a DUI Defense Lawyer in Easley, South Carolina Can Help You
There are several ways in which a DUI lawyer in Easley may be able to help with your DUI charge. For instance, sometimes it is possible to get these charges minimized, jail sentences or fines reduced, or get the charges dismissed entirely. It is also possible to call the validity of the field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test into question.
Breathalyzer tests can sometimes be called into question in the case that the machines are poorly serviced or uncalibrated. In situations like these, prosecutors commonly are willing to reduce the charges or offer a reduced sentence. In the case that this negotiation fails and the case proceeds to court, it is vital that you have a DUI defense attorney who can represent your case before a jury.
In addition to the breathalyzer defense, if you have any pre-existing conditions or take prescription medication, these factors could cause conditions which may be mistaken for impairment. If there are witnesses who can speak in your defense, this is always helpful. You and your Easley DUI lawyer will work to make the best of your particular case.
When you hire a South Carolina DUI attorney in Easley, South Carolina, the ultimate goal is to see your charges dismissed or minimized as much as possible, ensuring that you face the lightest consequences for the offense. Depending upon your case, you may not be able to get out of a DUI charge, but your Easley DUI lawyer can present alternatives to high fines and jail time, such as community service, in order to minimize the severity of your punishment.
Reducing DUI Charges with an Easley DUI Defense Lawyer
An Easley DUI lawyer can help you defend yourself against DUI charges in the best way possible. If possible, you can work with your lawyer to prove that you were, in fact, not intoxicated at the time of the accident, traffic stop, or incident leading to your arrest. If you cannot prove this, then you may work to reduce the charges, and thus minimize the sentence, by working with your DUI lawyer. Every case is unique, so in order to determine the best way forward for your particular case, contact the Bateman Law Firm today.
When talking to your South Carolina DUI attorney in Easley, you will want to first explain the unique details of your DUI case in order for them to advise the best way forward. This usually begins with considering whether it is practical to fight the charges directly. If so, you and your lawyer will develop an action plan for defending your innocence. If not, then your Easley DUI defense lawyer will work to minimize those charges by negotiations with the prosecution. This process happens before your case goes to trial and often a plea bargain may be reached before you have to appear in front of a jury.
There are some factors that could turn your case in your favor and reduce your charges, such as the fact that you were taking legal prescription medications, that you were capable of clearly communicating, or an unreliable breathalyzer test was used. During this time, you may call on witnesses to testify as to where you were and what activities you were engaged in prior to your arrest. You may call upon mechanics to show your vehicle was suffering a mechanical malfunction that could attest to your swerving. There are many ways in which DUI charges can be reduced or eliminated. To determine your best options, contact a South Carolina DUI attorney at the Bateman Law Firm in Easley, SC, today.
Frequently Asked Questions about DUI Charges in Easley, South Carolina
Is it always necessary to hire a South Carolina DUI attorney in Easley, SC?
Anytime you are facing charges against you, you have the right to an attorney, and that right should be exercised. Ultimately, the decision to represent yourself or to hire representation is yours, but hiring an experienced DUI attorney is highly recommended. DUI law in the state of South Carolina is complex, and the potential consequences for a DUI conviction can be severe.
The first thing your DUI defense lawyer in Easley, South Carolina will do is explain this process to you, carefully examine the evidence in your DUI case, and work to fight the suspension of your license, if that is possible.
Your DUI lawyer will also work to challenge any questionable aspect of the police investigation, negotiate with the prosecution, and, if your case goes to trial, present the best possible defense.
Is drinking and driving always illegal?
Drinking and driving becomes illegal when a person’s ability to drive become impaired. Whether or not you are guilty of driving while impaired is ultimately a matter of opinion. For this reason, hiring an experienced Easley DUI lawyer to assist in your defense is a very important decision.
What is a field sobriety test?
There are 3 tests known as standard field sobriety tests. The first is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, or HGN. During this test, a small object is slowly moved from side to side, and you are instructed to follow the object with your eyes and keep your head still.
The second test is the Walk-and-Turn test, where a suspect is asked to walk in a straight line, take 9 heel-to-toe steps while counting each step aloud, turn with a series of small steps, and return in a straight line in the same manner.
The third test is called the One-Leg Stand, and in it, suspects are asked to stand on one foot with the other foot lifted 6 inches from the ground, and while looking at your raised foot, count out seconds in thousands (“one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand,” and so on) until instructed to stop by the officer.
Can I refuse to take a field sobriety test?
Yes, you have the right to refuse to take a standard field sobriety test.
Can I refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test?
Yes, you have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test, but this refusal may result in the suspension of your license for 6 months. This suspension may be challenged in a hearing, which must be requested within 30 days.
Was I arrested legally?
There are several factors which must be considered when challenging the legality of an arrest. First, it is necessary to determine whether a traffic stop was legal – that is, whether there was probable cause of a moving violation, or suspicion of criminal activity. Second, you must consider whether the arresting officer complied with the statutory requirements such as video recording, reading of Miranda rights, and administering of the standard field sobriety tests. Finally, in the event that a breathalyzer test is given, the question of whether the arresting officer complied with statutory requirements at that site must be considered.
Will my license be suspended for a DUI?
This depends upon your circumstances. If you refuse a breathalyzer test or if you are tested to have a BAC at 0.15 or above, then yes, your license will be suspended.
What is a Temporary Alcohol License?
A TAL is a temporary license which may be requested via a contested case hearing called an Administrative Hearing. This license must be applied for at the DMV after your eligibility has been confirmed.
If my BAC was tested at 0.08 or higher. Am I guilty of DUI?
No. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above is evidence which may be used by a jury to determine impairment, but it does not guarantee your guilt. In addition, this BAC level may be used to charge you with the separate crime of DUAC, or Driving with Unlawful Alcohol Concentration.
How is DUAC different from DUI?
These 2 charges require different kinds of proof. In order to prove DUI, the prosecution must prove that you were sufficiently impaired. In order to prove DUAC, the only proof necessary is that your blood alcohol concentration was above 0.08.
Does a DUI charge apply to drugs (illegal or prescription?)
Yes, it does. The key of a DUI charge is your level of impairment, and the fact that the impairment was due to a substance. It does not matter what the substance is, though the prosecutor does need to be able to prove that the medication or other drug was in your system at the time, while also proving that those drugs were an impairment on your ability to safely drive.
Can I be charged with DUI while in a parked car?
Maybe – if there is evidence that you have been recently driving the vehicle, an officer may arrest you. A prosecutor would need to prove that you were driving in order for you to be found guilty, however.
Can I be charged with DUI while driving a boat?
Yes. Boating under the influence is a crime in South Carolina.
Will my DUI arrest appear on a criminal background check?
Yes – your arrest record is generated when you are booked.
Can I have a DUI conviction expunged?
Not at present. DUI convictions cannot currently be expunged in South Carolina, but a dismissal can.
Can I appeal a DUI conviction?
Yes, you can. Your DUI defense lawyer will need to file a notice of appeal within a required time frame, but you can and should appeal a conviction in order to continue to fight for reduced charges, lesser sentences, or to have the case dismissed entirely.
Consult with a Easley DUI Lawyer About Your Case
If you have been arrested for DUI in Easley, South Carolina, you have options. It is imperative that you contact an experienced South Carolina DUI attorney in Easley like the staff at Bateman Law Firm right away. We will carefully analyze the details of your case, and will identify the best possible outcome for your situation. Then, your attorney will fight everyday to achieve that best possible outcome. By representing yourself, you place yourself at the risk of being in the worst case scenario.