In South Carolina, arrests for driving under the influence tend to be relatively unforgiving. While it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, you can still be arrested even with a lower BAC if you display physical signs consistent with intoxication or erratic driving patterns. Consequences of a DUI arrest are already severe and can include both criminal and civil penalties, but these ramifications are exacerbated if there is a child passenger in the car. South Carolina has a sentence enhancement statute for DUIs that involve a passenger who is a minor, a provision that only goes from bad to worse if the police argue that your intoxication caused an accident that resulted in great bodily harm.
Charges for a DUI arrest can be intimidating, especially if you were implicated while driving with a passenger under the age of sixteen. Allegations of this nature warrant the counsel of an experienced Columbia DUI with a child passenger attorney who is well-versed in the various stipulations of South Carolina’s DUI laws. Fortunately, the defense lawyers at Truslow & Truslow have decades of experience handling intoxicated driving cases and can help guide you through the legal process of combatting these charges.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are facing felony charges for driving under the influence with a passenger who is a minor, you likely have many questions. These are some of our most commonly asked questions on the subject. If you have any further questions, please contact us at (803) 590-6688 for a confidential consultation.
How Can I Defend Myself Against a DUI With a Child Passenger Charge?
Our defense strategy will depend on the unique circumstances of your situation. These are some of the defense strategies we often employ in DUI with child passenger cases:
- There was a lack of probable cause. The police officer needs probable cause to stop you. If it’s determined that there was no probable cause, your charge can be thrown out even if you were intoxicated. There are a variety of factors that can give an officer probable cause, such as swerving, speeding, driving very slowly, or otherwise driving recklessly. However, if you were abiding by all traffic laws, we may be able to establish that there was no reason to pull you over in the first place.
- A medical condition caused a false positive on a breathalyzer exam. Some medical conditions, like acid reflux, can cause a false positive on a breathalyzer exam. If you weren’t drinking or believe you were in the legal driving limit of alcohol consumption and you have a history of such medical issues, this can be an effective defense.
- The equipment used to measure your blood alcohol content was defective. If a breathalyzer device wasn’t maintained properly or was used improperly by a police officer, it may give a false reading or false positive. We may contact a representative from the company that produces the breathalyzers, or some other expert witness in the area of breathalyzer devices, to testify about whether or not the device was working properly.
These are only a few of the many defense options that could potentially be used in your case. We will conduct a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding your arrest in order to give you the best defense possible.
What Is a Plea Bargain and Should I Accept One if I’m Accused of DUI With a Child Passenger?
A plea bargain is a deal that you make with the prosecution to plead guilty in exchange for a predetermined penalty. For example, the prosecution may give you a deal in which if you plead guilty, you will only face six months of jail time. If you plead not guilty, your case will go to trial, in which you could either be found not guilty and face no penalties or be found guilty and be sentenced to several years in prison.
Accepting a plea bargain can be a good idea if there’s a significant amount of evidence against you. However, you should never accept a plea bargain without consulting a lawyer. An experienced DUI with child passenger attorney, like those at Truslow & Truslow, will be able to give you an idea of your chances in court. We will also be able to tell you if your plea bargain is truly a good deal, or if you could get an even better plea bargain.
How Long Will My Case Take?
The length of your case depends largely on whether or not you decide to take a plea deal. There are many steps of a criminal trial, including preliminary hearings, before you ever even see a jury. Many factors affect the timeline, such as the availability of judges and the prosecution. Courts can be slow-moving and even preliminary hearings can take several months, but we do everything we can to make sure your case is handled as efficiently as possible.
South Carolina DUI Statistics
For South Carolina residents, here are some statistics from the DMV.org:
- In South Carolina, it is illegal to drive a vehicle if your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is 08% or higher.
- If you are younger than 21 years old, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 02% or higher.
- If you hold a CDL license the legal limit is 04% or higher.
Depending on the circumstances of your offense, you may receive a DUI or alcohol-related violation even if your BAC is under the legal limit.
Penalties for DUI in South Carolina
South Carolina’s DUI statutes include a stipulation on child endangerment that comes into effect when an adult over eighteen years old drives intoxicated with one or more passengers under sixteen. Under these conditions, a child endangerment charge increases the penalties for a DUI charge in the following ways:
- An additional fine of up to half of the DUI charge
- Imprisonment for up to half of the maximum jail time for the DUI charge
- A suspended license for 60 days
- Possible revocation of a driver’s license
If the child passenger suffers bodily harm during the alleged period of intoxicated driving, the offense then becomes a Class 4 Felony and may result in a minimum $2,500 fine and 1-3 years of jail time. These are harsh consequences, and the prospect of facing them is daunting. However, you do not have to go through this troubling time by yourself.
At Truslow & Truslow, our attorneys can assist you if you have been accused of DUI with a child in the vehicle. It is imperative that your charge is resolved favorably, efficiently, and effectively to protect your livelihood and keep your family intact. If mishandled, a DUI charge can quickly turn a lapse in judgment or an error in law-enforcement into a life-altering conviction. A DUI conviction can impact your job, your finances, and your family. In South Carolina, the severity of the sentence is often dependent on whether it is your first offense or if you have been charged with DUI in the past, it is essential that you talk to an attorney as soon as you have been arrested.
Truslow & Truslow represents individuals, service members, and small businesses throughout the State of South Carolina. Douglas N. Truslow entered private practice in 1979. In 2009, he and his son, Neal D. Truslow formed Truslow & Truslow to serve the citizens and small businesses of South Carolina. With over 48 years of combined legal experience, Truslow & Truslow is committed to working for you. We put our clients first, we will protect your rights, and we will assist you with your DUI with a child passenger charge. We provide individual attention to each client, and we make sure that no question is left unanswered. We have the experience and track record to get results.
A Columbia DUI with a child passenger attorney at Truslow & Truslow will review the specific details of your case and guide you through the legal process. We believe that people deserve an opportunity to show that a single mistake does not justify a harsh, lasting punishment. We have extensive experience helping individuals fight for their rights, and we can fight for you. Our attorneys have helped countless individuals get DUI charges against them reduced or dropped altogether. We are here to help, and you do not have to shoulder the burden of criminal charges alone. It is important to act soon to protect your freedom.
Don’t hesitate to complete our online form or contact our offices today for a confidential consultation with an experienced attorney at (803) 590-6688
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
After a serious DUI charge, you may have many questions. What is the fine for this offense? Will jail time be required? Will my driver’s license be suspended? Do I need an attorney? After being charged with DUI, it is essential to allow an attorney to assist you, due to the nature of your serious charges. The legal process can be challenging with criminal court penalties. Depending on whether it is your first or second offense, you will also face penalties with the South Carolina DMV regarding your driver’s license suspension. Let our firm handle all your paperwork and negotiation so that your charge is resolved favorably, efficiently, and effectively to protect your livelihood and so that you and your family will not suffer any negative consequences.
Why Choose Truslow & Truslow?
Make the best decision for your future and contact Truslow & Truslow. We have a strong track record of success helping people get the charges against them reduced or dropped completely. We have extensive experience assisting individuals and families in the Columbia and surrounding areas. We know this is a difficult time for you and we can help.
With Truslow & Truslow as your advocates, we are ready to fight to protect your best interests so that your freedom is protected, and so you and your family will not suffer the consequences of choosing the wrong representation for your case. Our firm has handled over 2,000 cases, and we have a 99% client satisfaction. We are effective, efficient, and experienced and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. Contact us at (803) 590-6688 for a confidential consultation and get started, as your time to take action is limited after a DUI charge.