Felony DUI Attorneys Columbia NC
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.
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.
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.
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.
Protecting Your Rights and Defending Against Felony DUI Charges
If you have been charged with a felony DUI in South Carolina, it is crucial to have experienced and knowledgeable attorneys on your side. At Truslow & Truslow, our team of skilled lawyers specializes in defending clients facing felony DUI charges.
When you choose us to represent you, we will:
- Thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest
- Review all evidence, including police reports and breathalyzer results
- Challenge any procedural errors or violations of your rights
- Build a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique case
- Advocate for your best interests both in and out of the courtroom
Our goal is to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your felony DUI case. Our Columbia felony DUI attorneys understand the serious consequences that come with a conviction, including hefty fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, and even imprisonment. With our expertise and dedication, we will fight tirelessly to minimize the impact of these charges on your life.
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.