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Lexington, SC DUI Defense Lawyers

If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol, the state of South Carolina doesn’t look the other way. The state is committed to aggressively pursuing criminal charges against individuals caught breaking the law. A conviction can have far-reaching implications beyond fines and jail time. A DUI conviction can damage business relationships, personal relationships, and an individual’s reputation. In essence, a DUI is costly in more ways than one.

Individuals facing a DUI charge need experienced and skilled representation to navigate the legal process. Now is not the time to “hope for the best.” Now is the time to secure a tenacious defense team that takes protecting your rights seriously. A case is already being built against you. Counter that case with a solid defense strategy of your own crafted by a seasoned DUI defense attorney.

If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, you must act now. Talk to the Lexington criminal defense attorneys of Truslow & Truslow to protect your future. We will review your case and go over your legal options and strategies in a safe and confidential environment. Let us help you maximize your chances of a favorable outcome. Call us at (803) 256-6276 to get the help you need. The initial consultation is free.

South Carolina DUI Laws

As in other states, South Carolina law prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Legally, a driver may be considered under the influence if their physical or mental faculties to drive are materially impaired. A driver found operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher is considered to be impaired and thus, can be charged with driving under the influence. However, a driver that has a BAC over .05 but less than .08 can still be considered under the influence if there is sufficient evidence to infer that the individual is impaired.

South Carolina also enforces an “implied consent” law. This law requires all drivers lawfully arrested for a DUI to submit to either a breath, blood, or urine test. Refusing to comply with this law can result in the suspension of the individual’s driver’s license. The length of the license suspension depends on how many previous offenses that individual has on their license. Refusing implied consent the first time can result in a suspension of six months. Subsequent refusals may result in suspensions from nine to 12-months.

Do I Need a DUI Attorney?

In short, yes. Those facing a driving under the influence charge need to contact an experienced Lexington DUI attorney immediately. Unfortunately, drivers are under the mistaken impression that hiring an attorney to help them in the early phases of an investigation will make them look “guilty” or like they are admitting to doing something wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the time a law enforcement official pulls you over to the time they arrest you, they are building a case against you. Getting immediate representation on your side early gives you the best opportunity to protect your rights.

An experienced DUI defense attorney can examine both the evidence against you and the way law enforcement collected that evidence. At Truslow & Truslow, our experienced attorneys leave no stone unturned and will aggressively fight for you to try to achieve the most positive outcome possible for your unique situation. This is not the time to navigate the system on your own. Turn to the skilled defense team at Truslow & Truslow for help protecting your finances and your reputation.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

The state does not take the offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence lightly. There are strict criminal penalties that can cost an individual both time and money in the form of jail time and steep fines. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety clearly outlines how the state will punish those that are found guilty of breaking the state’s DUI laws. The penalties that a convicted driver may face include:

First Offense 

  • Fines up to $400
  • Jail time of 48 hours to 30 days
  • Suspension of driver’s license for six months

Second Offense

  • Fines from $2,100 up to $5,100
  • Jail time from five days to one year
  • Suspension of driver’s license for one year

Third Offense

  • Fines from $3,800 to $6,300
  • Jail time from 60 days to three years
  • Suspension of driver’s license for two years

Subsequent Offenses 

  • Jail time of one to five years
  • Permanent revocation of driver’s license

The timing of the offenses matters significantly. If a third offense occurs within five years of the very first offense, then the court may suspend the individual’s driver’s license for four years. If the third offense occurs within 10 years of the first offense, then the vehicle itself can be confiscated if the individual is the owner or is a resident of the owner’s household.

Drivers are often unaware that in addition to the stated fine, there can be assessments and surcharges involved. These charges can significantly alter the amount of money that a convicted individual ends up having to pay. In the case of a $400 fine, the assessments and surcharges can add up to $992. A fine of $6,300 can turn into $13,234.50 with the added assessments and surcharges.

While these penalties seem severe, they can become even tougher in certain situations. A driver that has a BAC of .15 percent or more can receive an additional one-month suspension at the time of their arrest and may not be eligible to apply for a provisional license. A driver may be able to obtain what is known as a “restricted license” after their conviction, which means they may only drive if an ignition interlock device is installed in their vehicle.

Felony DUI Offenses

A DUI violation can rise to the level of a felony offense under certain circumstances. If the intoxicated driver causes a serious accident that results in “great bodily injury” or the death of another individual, that driver can face felony DUI. The term “great bodily injury,” according to South Carolina law 56-5-2945, means any form of injury that causes a substantial risk of death or inflicts permanent disfigurement. A great bodily injury may also include an injury that results in the loss or impairment of a limb, body part, or internal organ. The penalties for a felony DUI conviction are significant and life-altering. They include:

Felony DUI with Great Bodily Harm 

  • Mandatory fine of $5,100 up to $10,100
  • Jail time from 30 days to 15 years

Felony DUI with Death 

  • Mandatory fine of $10,100 to $25,100
  • Jail time from one to 25 years

As with lesser counts of DUI, the assessments and surcharges tacked on to the fines can significantly increase what an individual may end up owing. A fine of $25,100 turns into $52,244.50 with the added assessments and surcharges factored in.

Another factor to keep in mind when it comes to felony DUI cases is that criminal penalties may not be the only penalties an individual may face. In situations where another individual is hurt or killed, that person or their surviving family members may wish to file a civil case. A civil case is different and separate from a criminal case. It is meant to establish liability for an accident and to hold a negligent driver accountable for financial expenses related to that accident. Those expenses may include the victim’s medical bills, loss of income, and property damage. It is exceedingly important in felony DUI cases to contact an experienced attorney immediately.

Other Driving Related Alcohol Offenses

In addition to DUI charges, a driver may also face other charges and penalties associated with driving under the influence of alcohol. South Carolina also prohibits having an open container of beer or wine in a moving vehicle if it is not properly stowed in the trunk or a luggage compartment. The punishment for an open container violation is a fine of up to $100 or jail time up to 30 days.

The state of South Carolina also has a separate open container law that applies specifically to liquor or spirits. An open container of liquor, which is not properly stowed, can result in a fine of $100 or jail time up to 30 days if convicted.  

Contact an Experienced Lexington Defense Attorney

If you stand accused of driving under the influence, don’t wait to see how things will play out. Law enforcement and prosecutors are already working against your interests and building a case against you. Counter their case by contacting a skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney who can build a defense strategy tailored to your situation.

The team at Truslow & Truslow is committed to defending you and your rights. We understand that a DUI conviction can seriously alter your life, wallet, and reputation. At Truslow & Truslow, our team wants to help alleviate your anxiety by keeping honest and transparent lines of communication open throughout the entire legal process. To find out more about how we can help you through this difficult period, contact our office at (803) 256-6276 today. The consultation is free.

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