Columbia First-Offense DUI Penalties

A first-time DUI offense is taken very seriously in the city of Columbia. Judges and the prosecution fully understand how dangerous it is to drive while under the influence. A jury is not known to be sympathetic to these types of charges which could make a DUI case much more difficult to defend against in court. The penalties could prove to be troublesome since they may result in the suspension or the taking away of a license. If you are currently facing a first-time DUI charge, contact an experienced attorney for more information. A skilled first-offense lawyer could help you understand Columbia first-offense DUI penalties.

First-Time DUI Penalties in Columbia

In South Carolina, if a person refuses the breath test or the person had, essentially, a 0.09 or 0.08, and it is the first offense, they may be looking at a $400.00 fine or 48 hours to 30 days in jail and then, of course, the implied consent penalties that would come with that conviction as well. In addition to the 48 hours or 30 days in jail or the $400.00 fine, there are also the ignition interlock penalties.

If someone is convicted of a DUI and refused the breath test, an ignition interlock device would be required for six months and they would be unable to receive a provisional license if they had a BAC greater than 0.15.  If an individual took the breath test and it was over 0.15, the person would have an ignition interlock device required for six months and also have no provisional license. If an individual took the breath test and had below 0.15, there would be a six-month suspension but they would be eligible for a provisional license.

Handling First-Time DUI Penalties in Court

How a judge treats a defendant depends on whether the person is found guilty of DUI at a jury trial versus pleading guilty to a lesser charge of Reckless Driving in South Carolina.  A DUI conviction requires 48 hours of jail time that can be suspended upon the completion of community service.  A lawyer could potentially never guarantee that a person convicted of a DUI is not going to receive jail time unless it is negotiated with the Prosecutor and Judge during a guilty plea.  Judges generally sentence individuals convicted of a DUI to 30 days in jail including the payment of a fine plus court costs.

As a general rule, judges do not send people for their first offense to jail. A lawyer may say what the best case is, the worst case, and what happens most often. A lawyer cannot guarantee that an individual may go to jail because it carries up to 30 days but, most commonly, that is what happens.

Where are these Charges Typically Heard?

For first-time DUI penalties, if a person was arrested by the City of Columbia, they may be heard at the municipal court in Columbia. If a person is arrested by Richland County,  the charge will be heard at the Richland County Magistrate Courthouse on Decker Boulevard. Then, if a person is arrested by Lexington County, they may be at the Lexington County Magistrate Courthouse.

Leniency of Judges and Juries for First-Time Offenses

Juries take DUI cases very seriously. They understand the dangerous nature of someone driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but they also understand that someone easily could be innocent. Just because someone drank alcohol does not mean that they were not under the influence, and they take it very seriously that if they convict somebody, there are some serious consequences that come with the conviction. Judges certainly take it seriously as well.

Columbia First-Offense DUI Lawyer