Lexington DUI Lawyer

Driving while under the influence (DUI)  is one of the most common, yet misunderstood of South Carolina’s criminal offenses. For many people, this is their first and only experience in the criminal justice system.

They may be scared and confused as to what steps to take next. DUI is an example of a crime that can result in not just a criminal conviction, but also a loss of a person’s driving privileges (suspension of driver’s license).

Further, many of these penalties have mandatory minimums that will result from any conviction. Depending upon the person’s blood alcohol level, the penalties may be even more severe.

A Lexington County DUI lawyer represents people who have been accused of DUI as well as refusing to submit to a breath (datamater) breathalyzer test. A seasoned defense attorney understands the effects that these serious charges have on people’s lives and formulate defense strategies that meet each person’s individual needs.

DUI Laws in South Carolina

One common misnomer about South Carolina’s DUI law is that a person needs to have at least 0.08% blood alcohol content to be convicted. In fact, South Carolina Law 56-5-2930 states that it is illegal for any person to drive while their faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired.

This can be due to alcohol or any other drug. Therefore, a person may be arrested and charged simply by the arresting officer’s observations.

If a person is visibly swerving on the road, their breath smells of alcohol, and their eyes are bloodshot.  South Carolina Law 56-5-2950 says that all drivers give implied consent to breath, blood, or urine testing, whenever they drive.  A person does have the right to refuse the test, but there are consequences (suspension of driver’s license) for not submitting to the breath test.

If an officer has reasonable suspicion that a person is driving under the influence they can order any of these tests.

A refusal to submit to the breath test is punished by a mandatory license suspension of at least six months and the refusal may be admitted as evidence in the DUI trial.  A person or their Lexington DUI attorney has 30 days to challenge the license suspension in the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings by requesting a Contested Case hearing.

Potential DUI Penalties

The punishment for DUI conviction varies with the amount of alcohol in the defendant’s system and the number of previous convictions. The minimum penalties for a first conviction with a BAC level between .08 and .10 are:

  • A minimum jail sentence of 48 hours. This may be changed to 48 hours of community service.
  • A fine of up to $400 plus court costs that vary depending upon the court.
  • Mandatory participation in a state approved alcohol education program. Alcohol Drug Action Safety Program (ADSAP).
  • A license suspension of at least 6 months (does not include the implied consent suspension, if applicable). A reinstated license must be accompanied by special SR22 car insurance.

If a person is convicted with higher BAC levels or is convicted of a subsequent offense, the minimum jail terms, fines and license suspensions increase dramatically. It is therefore imperative for people to immediately consult a Lexington DUI lawyer about contest DUI accusations at every turn.

How a Lexington DUI Attorney Can Help

Any accusation of DUI in South Carolina is a very serious matter. Whether the charges are based upon a positive Datamater Breath test (breathalyzer test) for alcohol, an officer’s observations of the defendant, or are centered on driving while on drugs, people need to present a personalized and thorough defense.

A Lexington DUI attorney represents clients who have been accused of DUI under all sorts of circumstances.

We examine each case to determine if the arrest was properly made if the tests were conducted with acceptable procedures and any other mistakes that may have been made by the police.  We are focused on finding constitutional violations and legal defenses to protect your rights.

Using this information, we combine evidentiary motions and aggressive cross-examination of witnesses to provide our clients with a better chance at a positive outcome.

Penalties for DUI can range from mandatory jail time to a loss of a driver’s license. The stakes are high; take a positive step towards protecting yourself and contact our firm today.