DUI and DUAC Defense in Columbia, South Carolina

DUI and DUAC Defense in Columbia, South Carolina

In the state of South Carolina, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Regardless, South Carolina is notorious for drunk driving. In fact, while the average ratio of drunk driving deaths to overall traffic fatalities hovers around 29% for the nation, South Carolina sees about 335 alcohol-related deaths each year, totaling a whopping 44% of all car accidents deaths. As such, the local police departments in the state have become exceedingly strict about cracking down on drivers who get behind the wheel while intoxicated. If you were arrested for driving under the influence, you need to consult with a skilled Columbia, South Carolina DUI defense lawyer immediately.

South Carolina Criminal Laws Prohibiting Driving While Intoxicated

If you are driving while intoxicated, there are multiple different charges that can be brought against you.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

As defined in Section 56-5-2930 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, a DUI occurs when (1) you are driving a vehicle and (2) your ability to drive that vehicle is “materially and appreciably impaired” due to alcohol or drugs or a combination of both.
Everyone knows what alcohol is, but did you know that “drugs” includes both illegal narcotics like heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, as well as legal prescription drugs? If you have a valid prescription for a pharmaceutical drug but that drug severely inhibits your faculties, you may be arrested for DUI if caught on the road. Common prescription drugs involved with DUIs include prescription painkillers like Oxycodone and Vicodin and sleeping pills like Ambien. South Carolina controlled substances are defined and listed in Title 44 of the Health Code.

Driving with Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC)

Under Section 56-5-2933 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, a DUAC occurs when (1) you are driving a vehicle and (2) your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. Often times, drivers are arrested for both DUI and DUAC. However, the two offenses differ in that a DUAC does not require impaired driving.

Breath Test Refusal

Section 56-5-2950 of the South Carolina Code of Laws states that by virtue of driving a vehicle on South Carolina roadways, you have impliedly given consent for law enforcement to obtain breath, blood, and/or urine samples in order to test for alcohol or drugs once you have been arrested for DUI/DUAC. Refusing to provide a sample violates this law and tacks on additional penalties should you be convicted.

Maximum Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in South Carolina

DUI and DUAC

BAC less than 0.10:

  • First-time offenders: Community service or up to 48 hours in jail; $400 fine; six months of driver’s license suspension
  • Second-time offenders: Up to five days in jail; $2,100 fine; one year of driver’s license suspension
  • Third-time offenders: Up to 60 days in jail; $3,800 fine; two to four years of driver’s license suspension
  • Fourth-time offenders: Up to one year in prison; revocation of driver’s license

BAC between 0.10 and 0.16:

  • First-time offenders: Community service or up to 72 hours in jail; $500 fine; six months of driver’s license suspension
  • Second-time offenders: Up to 30 days in jail; $2,500 fine; one year of driver’s license suspension
  • Third-time offenders: Up to 90 days in jail; $5,000 fine; two to four years of driver’s license suspension
  • Fourth-time offenders: Up to two years in prison; revocation of driver’s license

BAC over 0.16:

  • First-time offenders: Community service and up to 30 days in jail; $1,000 fine; six months of driver’s license suspension
  • Second-time offenders: Up to 90 days in jail; $3,500 fine; one year of driver’s license suspension
  • Third-time offenders: Up to six months in jail; $7,500 fine; two to four years of driver’s license suspension
  • Fourth-time offenders: Up to three years in prison; revocation of driver’s license

Test Refusal

  • First-time offenders: Six months of driver’s license suspension
  • Second-time offenders: Nine months of driver’s license suspension
  • Third-time offenders: 12 months of driver’s license suspension
  • Fourth-time offenders: 15 months of driver’s license suspension

What Happens When You Are Pulled Over?

When a Columbia police officer or state trooper pulls you over for suspected drunk driving, you will be asked to turn off your car and step out of the vehicle. The officer will first ask you a series of questions, including whether you have consumed any alcohol or drugs recently. You are not required to answer any questions about your sobriety! You are within your 5th Amendment rights to refuse to speak with the officer, though you cannot refuse to give biographical data such as your name or handing over your driver’s license.

The officer will then perform a series of tests. Field sobriety tests are exercises designed to assist the officer in determining whether you are under the influence. Drugs and alcohol affect the speed of your brain’s control over your body movements and response to stimuli. Field sobriety tests detect whether you are unable or slow at doing certain tasks that a sober individual can easily accomplish. These tests include reciting the alphabet backwards, standing on one leg, walking heel-to-toe in a straight line, and following a moving pen with your eyes without moving your head.

The officer may also request that you blow into a breathalyzer. The breathalyzer analyzes alcohol content in the breath. You can refuse the breathalyzer but in doing so, face driver’s license suspension.

If you are arrested, the officer may also request a blood or urine sample at the police station to detect the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system. You can also refuse this but face automatic driver’s license suspension. After your arrest, you will be arraigned, and your release status will be determined.

Call Li Law Firm, LLC Now to Receive Help with Fighting Your DUI Charges

It is crucial that you hire an experienced and client-focused South Carolina DUI defense lawyer to assist you with court representation and defense. Li Law Firm, LLC proudly provides aggressive and results-oriented criminal defense representation to clients throughout South Carolina. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your charges and potential defenses, contact Li Law Firm (803) 719-7585.

By |2017-07-10T21:29:06+00:00November 7th, 2015|DUI|0 Comments

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