COLUMBIA DUI LAWYERS
Experienced Defense Against DUI Charges in Richland County
Most people have a fear of being pulled over by the police while driving. Even if you are sure you are following every traffic law, driving safely, and your car is in perfect working order, we all have concerns about law enforcement finding a reason to pull you over. Once the police stop you, part of their training is to check for signs of impairment to prevent driving under the influence, among other things. Unfortunately, some of these (bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, mumbling, and stuttering, to name a few) could be caused by any number of things other than intoxication. The entire process and production of getting pulled over can be extremely nerve-wracking, and that is only amplified if you are arrested and charged with DUI. However, it is possible to fight back against charges made against you by police officers if you have an experienced legal team on your side like the one at Truslow & Truslow.
Drivers across the Palmetto State are charged with and convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) nearly every day, and often under wrongful circumstances. The attorneys at Truslow & Truslow understand the need to keep the roads in Columbia and across South Carolina safe, but not at the expense of your Constitutional rights. If you are facing a DUI charge, you need a Columbia, SC DUI lawyer to ensure that your future is protected. An arrest for drunk driving can impact all aspects of your life, often because people arrested for driving drunk often do not receive the benefit of the doubt.
What Can a DUI Attorney Do For You?
A DUI (driving under the influence) attorney can help you navigate the legal process if you have been charged with DUI. Here are some ways a DUI attorney can assist you:
- Explain the DUI laws and consequences: A DUI attorney can help you understand the laws related to DUI and the potential consequences of a conviction. They can also explain your legal options and advise how to proceed.
- Defend you in court: A DUI attorney can represent you and argue. They can present evidence to support your case and cross-examine witnesses.
- Negotiate plea bargains: A DUI attorney can sometimes negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor, resulting in reduced charges or a lighter sentence.
- Help with administrative procedures: A DUI charge often triggers administrative procedures such as suspending your driver's license. A DUI attorney can help you navigate these procedures and fight to keep your license.
- Advise you on the impact of a conviction: A DUI conviction can have long-term consequences, such as higher insurance rates and difficulty finding employment. A DUI attorney can advise you on the potential impact of a conviction and help you make informed decisions.
Our Columbia DUI attorneys want to help you through your charges so you can return to your regular life without scrutiny or judgment.
South Carolina DUI Laws
The state of South Carolina has strict laws regarding driving under the influence to ensure public safety on the roads. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration of:
- 0.08% or higher for drivers who are 21 years old or older
- 0.02% BAC for drivers under 21
- 0.04% BAC for commercial vehicle drivers
However, even if your BAC is under the legal limit, you could still be charged with a DUI if your ability to drive safely is impaired by alcohol or drugs. The penalties for DUI offenses vary based on prior convictions and the level of impairment, ranging from fines and license suspension to mandatory imprisonment. If facing a DUI charge in Richland County, seeking legal advice from our DUI defense attorney from Truslow & Truslow is crucial to understand the specific laws and penalties that apply to your situation.
What are the Penalties For a DUI in South Carolina?
In their efforts to stop drunk driving, police officers and prosecutors are likely to pursue harsh punishments against anyone arrested for an alcohol-related crime. Depending on the jurisdiction, there are judges that are more inclined to impose those harsh punishments. Compounding the problem, a conviction for DUI may result in:
- Suspension of your license
- A spike in your insurance premiums for a period of time
- Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) to drive your vehicle
- A non-expugnable conviction on your criminal record
As overwhelming and even frightening as these potential punishments may feel, it is possible to fight the charges brought against you. Remember, just because you are arrested does not mean you will be convicted. A qualified DUI attorney will be able to build a defense around your case and could potentially get your charges reduced or dropped completely.
DUI Cases We Handle
At Truslow & Truslow, our Columbia DUI lawyers have successfully defended clients in the following areas:
- Driving Under the Influence
- Child Endangerment
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
- Felony DWI/DUI
- Intoxication Assault
- Vehicular Manslaughter
- Open Container
You may assume there is no way out of your situation, but having a DUI lawyer evaluate your case is the first step to fighting the charges you are facing. We have the necessary experience and resources to shield you from the worst consequences of your arrest.
National and State Statistics on Drunk Driving
There is no doubt that drunk driving is a serious issue in our country. However, when a driver is arrested for DUI or DWI, they often face an immediate and painful backlash: this could come from friends, family, or members of the general public. Some people even lose their jobs when they are arrested because their employer automatically assumes guilt. Here are some of the most important statistics on drunk driving at a national level from 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the legal limit for driving in South Carolina for drivers who are 21 or older
- 28% of drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher involved in fatal crashes were between 21 and 24
- 27% of motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes had a BAC of 0.08% or higher
- Drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or higher involved in fatal crashes were 4.5 times more likely to have a prior conviction for DUI or DWI
These statistics indicate that the people affected most by drunk driving are younger people, motorcyclists, and drivers with prior DUI or DWI convictions. Young drivers and motorcyclists are already at a higher risk of a collision while driving, regardless of their impairment level.
People who have faced prior convictions for driving under the influence are more likely to face serious charges and jail time if they are convicted. A drunk driving conviction can have a huge impact on your future, but hiring a knowledgeable DUI attorney could help lessen the impact.
Contact our DUI defense lawyer in Columbia today at Truslow & Truslow.
Defenses to DUI
There are several ways to defend against driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated charge. A skilled DUI attorney can help you determine which defense will be best for your case and can represent you in court. Below are some of the most common defenses:
Inaccurate Test Results
When a police officer is attempting to charge you with a DUI or DWI, they are likely to perform a number of standardized tests to determine your level of intoxication. One of the most popular methods used is commonly called a Breathalyzer test (in South Carolina, we use a system called the Datamaster). A Breathalyzer is a machine that indicates your blood alcohol concentration, but these devices are known to be faulty and present misleading information. If the sole evidence used to force your conviction is a Breathalyzer exam, we may be able to challenge the validity of those test results.
Other Reasons for Your Physical Appearance
Another way police will try to prove you were under the influence at the time of arrest is by citing your physical appearance and behavior. For example, if the officer performed a field sobriety test but you did not walk in a straight line, your eyes were bloodshot, and you were slurring your words, these observations can be used against you. One way to fight these accusations is to present an alternative reason for your actions. Perhaps you were sick and could not sleep, hence the bloodshot eyes. Maybe you were nervous or just don’t have good balance or coordination that could explain any stumbling. Refuting the testimony of police officers with a reasonable explanation is a common defense tactic in a DUI case.
No Probable Cause for Arrest
In order to arrest you for an alcohol-related crime, police must have had a legitimate reason to pull you over. Valid reasons for stopping a car include erratic driving, breaking a traffic law, or something as small as a broken taillight. If the police stopped you without a valid reason, it is possible that they violated one of your fundamental due process or Constitutional rights, even if you were under the influence. It is illegal for police to stop you without probable cause, so if you feel as if the arresting officer stopped you illegally, we can use that as part of your defense.
Contact Our Columbia DUI Attorney Today
If you were arrested for driving under the influence, you need to contact a lawyer now. You have not been convicted yet, and there is still time to defend yourself against these accusations. One arrest does not need to ruin your life forever, and a Columbia, SC, DUI defense attorney can fight to ensure that this does not happen to you. For DUI or DWI representation in Columbia or the surrounding areas, contact Truslow & Truslow by calling (803) 590-6688.
Contact Truslow & Truslow today to get started on your defense with our Columbia DUI lawyers.
I recommend him without hesitation and am so very happy to have him on my side.- Mark T.
Their service was of great value to our family regarding our case.- Jim M.
If you are in need of representation they are the ones to go with!!- Josie S.
He is a man of his word & kept things up front when trying to resolve my case which came out better than we could’ve hoped it would.- Alexis W.
He diligently worked on my case and didn’t settle for the easiest outcome, he made sure I came out on top without any worry about my future.- Jess C.