Our lawyers represent people charged with DUI in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties. As DUI Defense Lawyers we are asked many questions about arrests for driving under the influence and South Carolina DUI law. Here are the answers to those most frequently asked:
How serious is a DUI charge?
Some people fail to take a DUI charge seriously because it is given on a blue traffic ticket just like the one used for speeding, and a first offense DUI charge is tried in city or magistrate court. Don't make this mistake. A DUI conviction results in a large fine or jail time, drastically increaed insurance premiums for at least three years, a suspended license and court ordered alcohol classes. In addition, a DUI conviction is put on your criminal record and can never be expunged. This could effect your ability to seek emplyment long into the future. For more information please visit our DUI Conviction Penalties page.
Is it illegal to drink and drive in South Carolina?
No. In South Carolina you can legally drink alcohol and drive a car. However, it is illegal to drink alcohol to the point that your ability to drive is materially and appreciably impaired and then drive. Therefore, to be convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that, not only were you drinking and driving, but also that your ability to drive was both materially and appreciably impaired by alcohol consumption. Proof of drinking and driving alone is simply not enough for a DUI conviction.
If I am pulled over for DUI, do I have the right to remain silent?
Yes. You have the right to remain silent when being investigated for driving under the influence (DUI).
Do I have a right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests?
Yes. You may refuse any field sobriety test the police officer asks you to take. This is your right, and refusing sobriety tests does not constitute disobeying a police command.
Can I refuse the breathalyzer test?
Again, yes. You have that right and refusing a breathalyzer test does not constitute disobying a police command. However, when you applied for your South Carolina drivers license you gave your implied consent to take a breath test if suspected of DUI. If you refuse, your drivers license will be suspended for six months. We can help you get your license much sooner, however. Please read our recent DUI Blog post regarding whether you should take the breathalyzer and the consequences: Should I take the breathalyzer if pulled for DUI?
If I blow a 0.08 or more on the breath test am I automatically guilty of DUI?
Absolutely not. The breathalyzer test gives a blood alcohol content reading, and that reading is one of many pieces of evidence considered in your DUI case. Breathalyzer test results are not always accurate, and the test must be done using the proper procedures for the evidence to be used against you. We can fight to keep the breath test results from being used against you at your DUI trial. You should be aware that your breath test reading could affect your punishment if convicted of DUI. For more information on the penalties for DUI read our DUI Conviction Penalties page.
If I am stopped for DUI will I be recorded?
Most likely. South Carolia DUI laws require police officers to video and audio record your roadside DUI arrest and your time in the breathalyzer room. It is a safe assumption that you are being recorded through the entire arrest process. For more information on what happens during a typical DUI traffic stop and arrest, read our recent Blog post, "What happens when pulled over for DUI?"
My license was suspended during my DUI arrest. What can I do?
You have 30 days from the date of your DUI arrest to appeal your license suspension. Once your license is appealed we can work to get you a temporary alcohol license. Obtaining a temporary license can be a quick process and we encourage you to contact us today so that we can get you driving again. For more information please read our suspended drivers license page.
Should I hire a lawyer to fight my DUI charge?
The choice is up to you, but remeber that a DUI charge has serious and long lasting consequences if you are convicted. Evidence in DUI cases is complex and officers can make mistakes when investigating and prosecuting DUI charges. Our DUI Lawyers will closely examine all the evidence the State has against you.Contact our DUI attorneys today so that we can discuss your case. Our DUI consultations are free of charge.
Our law firm represents people charged with criminal offenses, including driving under the influence, in the Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, North Charleston, Summerville, Goose Creek, Hanahan, Isle of Palms, Sullivans Island, Folly Beach, Daniel Island, Awendaw, McClellanville and Moncks Corner, SC areas. If you have been charged with a crime in Charleston, Berkeley, or Dorchester Counties, give our criminal defense lawyers a call today. Your call is confidential and free of charge.