Irmo DUI Lawyer

Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC) are both common offenses in Irmo. Many drivers believe if they have been stopped, they have no choice but to accept the penalties. However, an experienced Irmo DUI lawyer could help you fight the charges and limit the negative consequences.

When you work with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney familiar with DUI cases, they can help you understand and protect your rights. Your attorney also serves as your advocate during the entire process, providing guidance and speaking on your behalf as you work toward the best available result.

Driving Under the Influence

S.C. Code §56-5-2930 prohibits motorists from driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of substances if these substances have a certain effect on the driver’s ability. Specifically, the alcohol or drugs must “materially and appreciably” impair the driver’s faculties.

A knowledgeable Irmo DUI lawyer could argue that even if a driver had consumed alcohol or drugs, those substances did not impair driving ability to a degree sufficient to trigger a violation of the statute.

A DUI conviction is punishable by a fine and sentence of imprisonment or community service. In addition, those convicted must complete the state’s Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program at their own expense.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, convicted drivers will have their licenses suspended, although they may be able to obtain a provisional license or drive with an ignition interlock device depending on the type of conviction.

Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration

DUAC is a similar offense and is punished in the same way as DUI. The difference between the two involves the means of determining guilt.

Rather than conducting an evaluation to ascertain whether a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs, law enforcement officials charge DUAC based on the results of chemical tests such as breathalyzer tests (DataMaster DMT).  DUI attorneys in Irmo often challenge the results of these tests, which could cause the prosecution to drop the charges.

A finding of .08 percent alcohol concentration in the blood is enough for a conviction. A concentration of .10 percent increases the penalties, and a finding of .16 or higher increases the penalties even further.

DUI Penalties

First-time offenders convicted of DUI or DUAC face a minimum fine of $400 and a minimum term of imprisonment of 48 hours, although the court may impose community service requirements in lieu of imprisonment.

The maximum jail sentence for a first-time offender is 30 days unless the driver convicted has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .16 percent or higher, in which case the maximum increases to 90 days and the minimum is set at 30 days. With a BAC between .10 and .15 percent, the fine increases to $500 and with a BAC of .16, the fine jumps to $1,000.

Penalties escalate substantially for subsequent offenses. For a second offense, drivers face minimum fines between $2,100 and $3,500 and may be imprisoned for up to a year or more. Fines for a third offense may go as high as $10,000, and maximum jail sentences can be as long as five years.

The presiding judge may have some leeway in suspending sentences and sentencing community service in place of imprisonment. A dedicated attorney in Irmo could build a case that minimum punishment or alternative consequences are more appropriate in a case.

Speak with a Skilled Irmo DUI Attorney Today

If you have been charged with DUI or DUAC, or if you have refused to take a breathalyzer test (DataMaster DMT) and now face serious consequences, it is wise to consult a knowledgeable Irmo DUI lawyer for advice as soon as possible. If you do not fully understand how to protect your rights, you may forfeit those rights unintentionally.

A seasoned criminal defense lawyer could use all available means to fight the charges and minimize the consequences. For a free case evaluation to learn more about your options, call now.