From the moment you see the red and blue lights flashing behind you, the fear starts to set in. If you’ve had a few drinks, you know the cops are going to notice. They are trained to detect any level of impairment. The same is true if you’re driving while under the influence of drugs. It doesn’t matter how many mints you eat. The cops are going to know right away that something isn’t right.
During your traffic stop, if the police do suspect that you’re driving under the influence, they’re going to do a few things. If they suspect you’ve been drinking, they’re going to ask you to take a breathalyzer test. You can refuse, but if you do, your license will automatically be suspended. If you’ve been drinking and take the test, the police will know that you’re intoxicated.
The other thing they’re going to ask you to do – no matter what substance you’re using – is to do a field sobriety test (FST). This test will show them whether or not you’re impaired. Chances are, if you’re under the influence of any substance, you’re going to be arrested. You’ll be taken to jail and will have to go to your first court appearance within days. It’s in your best interest to have an experienced Greenville DUI defense lawyer with you.
What are the Penalties for DUI in Greenville, South Carolina?
Even if it’s only your first offense, you’ll still be facing possible jail time in Greenville. Your South Carolina DUI defense lawyer could be the only thing standing between your freedom and metal bars. Of course, if it’s your second or even third offense, you’ll be facing stiffer penalties. The law in South Carolina provides for the following penalties for a DUI conviction:
- 1st Offense: If your convicted of DUI for the first time, you’ll be facing the following consequences:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- A 6-month suspension of your driver’s license
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (if your BAC is over .15)
- Jail time anywhere from 30 days to 90 days, depending on your blood alcohol concentration. The higher your BAC, the longer your jail sentence will be.
- 2nd Offense: The judge is going to be a lot harder on you if you’re convicted for DUI a second time. The fines are going to be higher and your jail stay will be longer. In South Carolina, you’ll be facing the following for your second DUI conviction:
- Fines of up to $6,500 per year
- Jail term for at least one year
- A license suspension of one year
- Ignition Interlock device depending on your BAC at the time
- 3rd Offense: Hopefully, you’re not facing your third DUI charge. But if you are, expect the following penalties to apply:
- 3-5 years in jail
- Fines of up to $10,000
- A suspension of your driver’s license for up to 4 years
As you can see, the penalties for DUI in South Carolina are serious. For your first DUI, your Greenville DUI defense attorney may be able to get you probation rather than jail time. However, if you’re being charged with DUI for the second or third time, that will be harder.
How Can a Greenville DUI Defense Lawyer Help?
Having an experienced Greenville DUI defense lawyer by your side can help a lot. They have developed a professional relationship with the prosecutor over the years. They can try to get your charges reduced or dismissed entirely. They’ll also try to get the least possible sentence. For example, rather than you facing 90 days in jail, they may be able to get the judge to agree to let you serve your sentence on the weekends. This way, you’re still able to work and take care of your family during the week.
Your DUI defense lawyer in South Carolina can also ask if you can be granted a provisional license. This will allow you to use your car to go to work or school. While that isn’t ideal, it’s a lot better than your license being suspended for 6 months or longer. At the end of the provisional period, your license will be restored.
Your attorney can also try to negotiate the lowest possible fines. There’s a big difference between fines for a first offense and fines for a second offense. Having a skilled DUI defense lawyer in Greenville can make all the difference.
Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Greenville Right Away
There isn’t a lot of time between your arrest and your first court appearance. That’s why you should call an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Greenville as soon as possible. Call them from the jail. Or, if that isn’t possible, your family can call and arrange for the attorney to meet you in the jail.