Charleston DUI/Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys
Are you facing a DUI charge? With serious possibilities on the horizon, fighting your DUI charge is virtually always the best idea. In some cases, DUI charges may be dismissed because of a lack of evidence or police mistakes. A Charleston DUI defense attorney at Query Sautter & Associates can also help lessen the negative consequences of your changes by reducing them or getting you into a diversionary program as an alternative to jail. As experienced DUI lawyers, we’re committed to providing exceptional service and prepared to provide relevant advice and help you through the entire legal process.
Understanding the Elements of a DUI Offense
After having an alcoholic beverage, it is not illegal to drive a motor vehicle in Charleston. It is illegal, however, to operate a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol when your faculties to drive are impaired. Additionally, although a driver does not necessarily need to be marked as impaired, a blood-alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of 0.08 will automatically result in a DUI. You can also be charged with a DUI in South Carolina if you drive under the influence of marijuana.
For a DUI charge to apply, the following elements must be present:
- The driver is operating a vehicle.
- To be defined as operating a vehicle, the driver must have the vehicle in motion at the time in question.
- The driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The driver’s faculties are materially and appreciably impaired.
When a police officer pulls you over, they will observe your behavior and issue a Standardized Field Sobriety Test. If the officer believes they have probable cause for DUI, they will make an arrest. A drunk driving defense attorney will review the traffic stop, and analyze your breath test results and videos to determine if there were any police errors.
Penalties for a DUI in South Carolina
Whether it is a first offense or subsequent conviction, anyone convicted of a DUI in South Carolina faces some amount of jail time. In the state, the penalties for driving under the influence are severe and typically go beyond a fine and suspension of your driver’s license.
Below is a breakdown of the penalties you could face for DUI in South Carolina:
DUI- 1st Offense: A first offender who tests above the legal limit will face a fine of up to $1,000 or be imprisoned for a maximum of 90 days, depending on their blood alcohol concentration. They will be subject to a higher fine and longer prison sentence if their BAC is 0.16% or greater. A first-time DUI offender will also face a license suspension for six months.
DUI- 2nd Offense: The penalty for a second offense is a one-year driver’s license suspension. If the driver’s BAC is 0.16% or greater, they could face a fine of no more than $6,500 and imprisonment for up to three years, depending on BAC.
DUI- 3rd Offense: Third offenses may result in a two-year driver’s license suspension. If the driver’s BAC is 0.16% or greater, they may receive an up to $10,000 fine and imprisonment for no more than five years, depending on BAC.
DUI- 4th Offense or Greater: A fourth offense may result in permanent revocation of a driver’s license. If the driver’s BAC is 0.16% or greater, they could face up to seven years in jail, depending on BAC.
Following your arrest, you probably have many questions about whether you can drive, how long you will be without your license, or whether you’ll have a criminal record. It is essential to act fast once you’ve been arrested and consult with an experienced DUI lawyer who can answer all your questions and concerns as soon as possible.
Contact Us to Start Your DUI Defense in Charleston Today!
If you have been charged with a DUI, the consequences of a conviction can be severe and life changing. To schedule a consultation, our outstanding legal team at Query Sautter & Associates is available online or by phone at 843-795-9500.