South Carolina DUI Lawyer

Although a police officer may ostensibly pull you over for texting while driving, speeding, crossing a yellow line, running a stop sign, or driving in an erratic manner, the more likely reason for such a traffic stop is suspected impaired driving.

In other words, the officer is really pulling you over believing that you are operating your vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You should immediately arrange for a South Carolina DUI lawyer to be present during any police questioning or interrogation.

A police officer can only pull you over when there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or probable cause of a traffic violation.  These types of traffic stops, called pretextual traffic stops, are valid and constitutional under both South Carolina law as well as federal law. DUI checkpoints, also known as sobriety checkpoints, are also constitutional under both federal and state law.

If an officer pulls you over and determines that you are operating your vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, you will be arrested. However, it is important to realize that your constitutional rights are still in full force at this time, and when it comes to police questioning, silence is golden.

If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI in the state of South Carolina, you need experienced legal representation on your side. A DUI attorney can help to maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable result in your DUI case.

What Happens Immediately after a DUI Arrest?

DUI’s in South Carolina are arrestable offenses, and the police officer will generally place the offender in handcuffs and into a police squad car. The arrestee will then be processed in accordance with standard police protocols for the county or jurisdiction where the arrest occurs.

As a South Carolina DUI lawyer can tell those charged, this part of the arrest process includes the following:

  • Booking
  • Photographing
  • Fingerprinting
  • A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test (breath, urine, or blood)
  • Police questioning and interrogation
  • Bond hearing within 24 hours of arrest.

Questioning by a Police Officer Before, During, or After an Arrest

During a traffic stop, and sometimes after arresting the driver for a DUI, police officers will ask a series of questions. By law, the driver is not required to answer these questions and may request that a South Carolina DUI attorney be present during any and all questioning.

This legal right against self-incrimination stems from the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. If the driver requests an attorney immediately prior to any police questioning, the driver cannot be forced to answer a police officer’s questions until after an attorney is made available and is present for the questioning.  A driver of a vehicle in South Carolina must provide a police office a valid Driver’s License, proof of insurance and current registration.  Other than those three requirements, you do not have to answer any of investigative question by a police officer.

Any evidence obtained as a result of improper police questioning or interrogation techniques may be suppressed at the criminal trial.

Meeting with Legal Counsel

If a police officer begins asking the driver questions either during the traffic stop – or after an arrest has already been made – the driver should politely decline to answer any questions until legal counsel can be present.

The police officer must also allow a reasonable time for the driver to meet and consult with legal counsel prior to answering any questions.  If you are on the side of the road or in the Breath Test Room, the officer does not have to bring your lawyer to you before reading you the implied consent rights and offering the test to you.

Speak with a South Carolina DUI Attorney Today

If you say the wrong thing in response to police questioning, you can potentially make an already bad situation much worse. Your safest bet is to have a criminal defense lawyer by your side every step of the way.

You should feel free to contact a South Carolina DUI lawyer at any time, via telephone or email, for a free initial consultation.

The Mental Health System Reform Scholarship

Dayne Phillips is proud to introduce The Mental Health System Reform Scholarship. One deserving student will be selected to receive a $1,000 award for their personal essay on the topic of mental health system reform. Please visit our scholarship page for more information on eligibility and the application process.