Do you know what you might be facing?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime punishable by fines, jail sentences, and other penalties. Each state has its own unique approach to DUI charges and punishments, so it is important to know the law in your area. In South Carolina, there are several punishments for DUI crimes that vary depending on the circumstances of a situation.
You may have many questions when it comes to a DUI charge. Below are common questions encountered when considering the facts of DUI charges. Consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss the individual nuances of your case.
What You May Be Wondering About DUI
What is "driving under the influence"?
Driving under the influence means driving a vehicle while "impaired" by alcohol. DUI is determined by measuring your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is often measured by a breath test or chemical test during a traffic stop if a law enforcement official suspects that you have been driving while impaired.
What BAC measurement is considered DUI?
In South Carolina, the BAC limit is 0.08%. This is also the standard limit throughout most of the United States. For commercial vehicle drivers, the BAC limit is 0.04%. For drivers under the age of 21, the BAC is 0.02%. Convictions in any of these categories may result in harsh consequences.
Can I refuse to take a BAC test?
You can refuse to take a BAC test, but not without consequence. South Carolina has a law of implied consent. If you refuse to submit to a BAC test, you may be subject to automatic license suspension and fines. The first refusal can result in a six-month suspension. By the third offense, you could have your license suspended for one year.
What are the consequences of a DUI?
Similar to other states, South Carolina has DUI punishments that vary depending on the situation and the number of offenses a person has. DUIs within 10 years of each other can be considered during a sentencing. This is known as the "washout period." All DUI offenses have the possibility of a jail sentence, fines, and license suspension.
The first DUI offense can result in 48 – 90 days in jail, a license suspension of six months, and $400 - $1000 in fines. By the fourth DUI offense, the offender could face up to seven years in jail, $10,000 in fines, and permanent license suspension.
How many drinks can I have before I reach the BAC limit?
There is no one correct answer to the number of drinks it takes to reach the legal driving limit. Keep in mind that BAC is influenced by weight, body-fat percentage, sex, and intervals between drinks. You may be able to determine your limit with a chart table or a calculator, but these are not necessarily effective in determining your personal BAC levels.
Can I only be charged with a DUI for alcohol?
It is also illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, and other intoxicating controlled substances. Whether alcohol or drugs, a substance that impairs your ability to drive may contribute to a DUI offense. The charges of a drug DUI may be just as severe as an alcohol DUI.
How can I fight a DUI?
In most situations, it is difficult to fight or reduce a DUI charge. In South Carolina, you cannot plead to lesser offenses for a conviction of "wet reckless" driving. The best way to avoid the trouble of a DUI is to refrain from driving after consuming alcohol and giving yourself enough time for your BAC level to subside.
Do not take on a DUI offense alone!
South Carolina takes DUI crimes seriously. Once you are convicted of a DUI offense, it is almost impossible to fight or reduce the charges. If you are facing a DUI crime, retain the legal guidance of an experienced Columbia DUI attorney at The Laubshire Law Firm, LLC. As former DUI prosecutors with experience in law enforcement, our legal team has valuable knowledge and experience to help our clients obtain positive results.
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