Greenville DUI Lawyer

Even if you have never even been arrested before, a single conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could have a massive negative impact on your future. A first-time DUI offender could still face steep fines, probation, increased insurance premiums, and potentially even a short stay in jail.

Fortunately, it is possible to fight DUI charges and minimize the penalties you might face upon conviction with help from a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Once retained, a Greenville DUI lawyer could help you understand the legal basis for your charges, go over potential defense strategies, and work on your behalf to secure a positive resolution to your case.

Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration in Greenville

Although state law references driving under the influence and driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration as separate criminal offenses, the two are intimately linked and often effectively the same offense. According to South Carolina Code of Laws §56-5-2933, any person who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater is considered to be driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration.

Anyone charged with DUAC is automatically presumed to have been driving under the influence, so the penalties associated with this offense are the same as those associated with DUI charges. However, a person may be charged with DUI in Greenville if they operate a motor vehicle while their ability to drive is “materially and appreciably impaired.” In other words, a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater automatically leads to drunk driving prosecution, but such a test result is not necessarily required for a DUI charge.

Furthermore, the standards for DUAC are even harsher for certain types of drivers. For example, commercial drivers are considered intoxicated under state law if their BAC behind the wheel equals or exceeds 0.04 percent, and drivers under 21 are subject to a “Zero Tolerance” rule that makes operating a vehicle illegal if their BAC is 0.02 percent or more. A Greenville DUI attorney could go into further detail about how state law specifically defines this offense, as well as how drug DUIs work in the state of South Carolina.

Increased Penalties for Successive Offenses

Whether someone is charged with DUI or DUAC, a first conviction may result in them being sentenced to jail for up to 30 days, as well as a $400 fine, additional surcharges and assessments, and a six-month suspension of their driver’s license. If they are convicted of DUI or DUAC a second time in the future, the potential penalties increase to between five days and one year in jail, $2,100 to $5,100 in fines in addition to surcharges and assessments, and a one-year license suspension.

A third DUI conviction is punishable by a minimum of 60 days and a maximum of three years in jail, as well as a fine of between $3,800 and $6,300 plus assessments and surcharges, a two-year license suspension, and—if the third conviction occurs within ten years of the first—possible confiscation of the defendant’s vehicle. Finally, a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction may result in a permanent license revocation and between one and five years of imprisonment.

Even more severe penalties may be applied if an instance of DUI results in serious or fatal bodily harm to another person. Because of the cumulative and long-term impacts DUI penalties can have, working with a skilled lawyer is critical for anyone facing DUI accusations in Greenville.

A Greenville DUI Attorney is Here to Help

Any allegation of drunk driving made against you should be taken extremely seriously, regardless of whether it is the first time you have been charged with such an offense. Even if the penalties for a first DUI conviction do not seem particular severe, your first conviction could come back to haunt you in increasingly damaging ways if you are ever accused of DUI again.

Pursuing a positive case result when facing DUI charges is a lot easier with guidance from a dedicated Greenville DUI lawyer. Call today to discuss your legal options.