Most people think that, if they pass a breathalyzer test in South Carolina, they can’t be arrested. After all, why bother setting a legal limit for someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) if it’s not going to mean anything? However, in South Carolina, as in most states, there’s something called a DUI Per Se.
A DUI Per Se is when someone is arrested for DUI despite the fact that their BAC was below .08. You can even be arrested with a BAC of 0. Some people can’t wrap their heads around that. They figure, if you can be arrested regardless of your blood alcohol concentration, why have it at all?
The DUI laws in South Carolina do state that the legal limit is .08. However, they also state that a person can be arrested for driving under the influence if they’re impaired to the point where they cannot operate a vehicle safely. The law was written this way on purpose. It gives the State a lot of leeway and discretion when it comes to arresting and charging people with DUI.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI with a BAC below the legal limit, you may be frustrated. You’re probably a bit angry. After all, if your BAC was under .08, the cops had no right to arrest you – right? Wrong. This is when it’s a really good idea to call and talk to a DUI defense lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina. They’ll work hard to prove that you weren’t impaired at the time of your arrest. They’ll also try to negotiate with the prosecutor to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
The Legislature in South Carolina Wrote the DUI Laws to Protect Motorists
The reason impaired driving is against the law is because it puts the public at risk. Yes, the state does make money on the fines drunk drivers have to pay. They also need to prosecute impaired drivers in order to deter other people from driving drunk in the future. But the main reason we have DUI laws is to keep the roads safe for all drivers.
When someone decides to get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs, they put everyone at risk. If they get into an accident, they won’t be the only one who gets hurt. The people involved in the crash could also get seriously injured or even killed. The legislature in South Carolina has a duty to protect these motorists. That’s why they wrote the DUI statutes to include offenders that may have a BAC lower than .08.
What Exactly is a DUI Per Se in Greenville, South Carolina?
In order to be arrested and charged with DUI in South Carolina, the officers need to have a reasonable belief that you’re impaired. This impairment can be the result of either alcohol or drugs. For example, if you drink several beers and then get behind the wheel, you’ll likely be impaired. If you’re pulled over, the cops will ask you to take a breathalyzer test. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher, you’ll be arrested for DUI. However, you can still be arrested and charged with DUI if your BAC is below the legal limit.
The cops have the authority to arrest you if it appears that you are impaired to the point where you can’t safely operate your vehicle. The officer may have you complete a field sobriety test to determine if you’re capable of driving. If you fail the test, you can still be arrested, regardless of your BAC.
Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney in South Carolina
If you’re arrested for DUI, you’re going to spend at least a few hours in jail. You’ll also be allowed to make one phone call. This call needs to be to an experienced Greenville DUI defense law firm. If you can’t call an attorney directly, then make sure you ask your family to call for you. You’re going to have to attend your initial hearing within days of being arrested. You don’t want to be at this hearing alone. It will set the tone for your entire case. You’ll want a skilled DUI defense lawyer by your side.
Call right away and set up your initial consultation. There’s so much at stake, you don’t want to try to handle this on your own. Let someone who’s been down this road many times hold your hand throughout the entire process. They’ll work hard to poke holes in the prosecutor’s case. They’ll also fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed all together.