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South Carolina Felony DUI Attorneys

If you have been arrested for a DUI, you should know your legal rights. An arrest does not mean you are guilty, but a guilty verdict could have a major impact on your life. Contacting a lawyer at Truslow & Truslow today could help drastically reduce the chance of a conviction.

With more than 48 years of experience, the DUI attorneys at Truslow & Truslow have represented thousands of people in Columbia and throughout the state of South Carolina, gaining a reputation for excellent work. Both Doug and Neal Truslow grew up and live in South Carolina, and they continue to support their friends and neighbors when their rights are on the line. Truslow & Truslow has been a fixture in the Columbia community since 2009, and we will fight to protect the rights of Columbia residents and other South Carolinians who are accused of felony DUIs.

If you or someone you love has been accused of a felony DUI, contact the South Carolina felony DUI lawyers at Truslow & Truslow for a confidential consultation today. Fill out our email form or call (803) 256-6276 today.

Do I Need a DUI Lawyer?

After being arrested for a DUI, you may have a number of questions. How long will my case take? What is the process? Do I need a lawyer?

DUI laws in South Carolina can be nuanced and complicated, so it benefits you to hire a competent attorney to help reduce your chance of being charged with a felony DUI. The consequences of a felony DUI conviction vary, depending on the extent of injury the victims sustained. DUI accidents that end fatally are prosecuted much more severely than those in which the victim survived. Additionally, a victim who does not die immediately, but later passes away due to injuries sustained from the accident, makes you susceptible to a felony DUI charge. The criminal penalties for a felony DUI might include:

  • Great Bodily Injury – minimum of 30 days to 15 years imprisonment, and a mandatory fine of at least $5,100 – $10,100
  • Death – minimum of one year to 25 years imprisonment, and a mandatory fine of at least $10,100 – $25,100

Civil penalties may also include the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license. Additionally, felony charges mean that no amount of time in your sentence can be served through probation. With these potential consequences, it’s imperative that you find the right DUI lawyer to handle your case.

The legal process can be daunting. Let us handle all the paperwork and negotiation so that you can have peace of mind.

Why Choose Truslow & Truslow to Handle My Case?

If you need a DUI lawyer in Columbia, there are certainly a number of firms to choose from. How do you know who you can trust to fight for you? How do you know which DUI firm is right for your case? Choosing the right attorney can be one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make, but ensuring that they’re actually qualified is easier said than done. These are some of the factors that set Truslow & Truslow apart:

  • Experience: Truslow & Truslow was founded in Columbia in 2009, but members of the firm have been practicing law since 1975. This type of experience can help drastically reduce your chances of a conviction.
  • Track record: Ultimately, you want a lawyer who can get results. Our attorneys have a record of success handling complex DUI cases for our clients. Depending on the factors surrounding your case, there may be grounds for dismissal of the charges or a reduction in your sentence.
  • Client satisfaction: It’s important to us that our clients have everything they need during this difficult time.

Drunk driving charges can be complicated to defend, so it’s important to have an attorney you can trust on your side.

Types of Cases We Handle

In South Carolina, authorities can prosecute driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Unlike misdemeanors, felony DUI’s are issued when an inebriated driver engages in reckless driving or traffic violations that cause the death or great bodily injury of another. “Great bodily injury” is legally defined as an injury that causes “a substantial risk of death, serious or permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment” of a body part or organ. However, an injury does not necessarily have to be grotesque or involve mutilation to warrant a felony charge. Many juries and prosecutors qualify any injury suffered as “great bodily injury.” For example, one can argue that a broken leg results in “protracted impairment” of a body part and is therefore applicable to a felony DUI charge. For this reason, if you were involved in an accident while you were intoxicated that caused any injury, you could be vulnerable to a felony DUI charge.

As compared to a misdemeanor DUI, felony DUI’s have more serious and long-term penalties that can ruin one’s life. A conviction may leave you with a criminal record, hefty fine, and a lengthy jail sentence on top of civil penalties. The seriousness of such charges warrants the qualified counsel of a proficient felony DUI attorney. At Truslow & Truslow, we know how much is at stake with criminal charges. As such, we work to provide an effective defense for South Carolinians everywhere facing felony DUI charges. We can use our specialized understanding of South Carolina’s traffic laws to guide you through the legal process of this charge and determine the facts of your case.

Did You Know?

After accumulating 12 points, the DMV could possibly suspend your license!

Penalties for a Felony DUI

The consequences of a felony DUI conviction vary, depending on the extent of injury the victims sustained. DUI accidents that end fatally are prosecuted much more severely than those in which the victim survived. Additionally, a victim who does not die immediately, but later passes away due to injuries sustained from the accident, makes you susceptible to a felony DUI charge. The criminal penalties for a felony DUI might include:

  • Great Bodily Injury – minimum of 30 days to 15 years imprisonment, and a mandatory fine of at least $5,100 – $10,100
  • Death – minimum of one year to 25 years imprisonment, and a mandatory fine of at least $10,100 – $25,100

Civil penalties may also include the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license. Additionally, felony charges mean that no amount of time in your sentence can be served through probation.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most common questions we get about felony DUI charges. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (803) 256-6276 for a confidential consultation.

What happens after I get charged with a felony DUI?

The first step a defense lawyer will take after you are charged is to try to get the prosecutor to dismiss your charges. If we convince them of your innocence, they may drop your charges altogether. They may also offer you a plea deal, which is where you agree to a certain plea in exchange for a predetermined (usually less severe) penalty.

If the prosecutor does not drop your charges, we will then try to convince a judge to dismiss your case by arguing that there is insufficient evidence to present to a jury. If your case is not dismissed, it will likely then go to trial.

At your trial, you will choose whether to have a “bench trial” or a jury trial. A bench trial is one in which only a judge hears the evidence and delivers a verdict. There is no jury in a bench trial.

What are my plea options?

If your felony DUI case goes to court, one of the first decisions you will have to make is how you want to plead. There are three pleas you can make: guilty, no contest, or not guilty.

Pleading guilty means you take full responsibility for the crime and accept the punishment that the state of South Carolina will give you. If you plead guilty, you will not have a trial.

Pleading no contest means that you do not accept guilt for the crime, but you admit that there is enough evidence to convict you.

If you plead not guilty, your case will go to trial. The prosecution will present evidence against you, such as police reports and medical reports. The prosecution needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. They will call witnesses, which may include police officers, doctors, and eyewitnesses. The victim may also testify.

At the end of the trial, a jury will vote on whether you are guilty or not guilty.

What is a plea bargain and should I take one?

A plea bargain is a deal that you make with the prosecution that allows you to enter a guilty plea and avoid going to trial. Penalties are often less severe for those who agree to plead guilty in plea bargains than for those who are found guilty at the end of a criminal trial.

For example, in a felony DUI case where you caused great bodily harm to someone, a prosecutor may offer a plea bargain in which you plead guilty and accept a sentence of 30 days in jail. If you plead not guilty and go to court, there’s a chance you could be acquitted and not go to jail at all. However, there’s also a chance you could be found guilty and go to jail for 15 years.

If there is significant evidence against you, it may be in your best interest to accept a plea bargain. However, you should not agree to a plea bargain before consulting with a lawyer. An experienced felony DUI attorney will have a good idea of your chances in trial and can recommend when to take a plea bargain and when to plead not guilty and fight your charges in court.

Related Statistics—DUI

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, South Carolina has one of the highest instances of traffic deaths involving drunk driving. In 2013, South Carolina had 767 traffic deaths, 335 of which were attributed to drunk driving. Forty-four percent is well above the national average of 31 percent.

In 2015, it was estimated that one person was killed in a DUI collision every 29.1 hours, according to the South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book. There were 456 non-fatal crashes involving a driver with a BAC of .08% or higher in 2015 in Richland County.

What Our Clients Are Saying

  • "I can't say enough about the job Truslow & Truslow did for me. I'm glad I chose them to help me with my legal issue."
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Contact a Felony DUI Lawyer in South Carolina

While this experience may be devastating, obtaining a knowledgeable DUI attorney could be the best decision you can make right now. At Truslow & Truslow, our legal team has spent decades fighting criminal DUI cases, and we have the knowledge and understanding to advocate on your behalf. We strive to provide a steady, calm assistance to help guide you through the DUI process. We are aware that you have many options when selecting an attorney to represent you; we strive to set ourselves apart with our experience, track record, and client satisfaction in each case that we handle.

Having practiced in South Carolina for over 48 years, we understand the specific needs of our friends and neighbors in Columbia and throughout the state. We know the community, and we understand the exact situation you are in. We’re here to help you in your time of need, so don’t hesitate to contact us today. If you are facing felony DUI charges, contact our Columbia offices at (803) 256-6276 to receive support in your case.

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