Charged with DUI in South Carolina?
Consider a DUI defense lawyer who’s also a former prosecutor.
A Columbia DUI Defense Lawyer should be familiar with both sides of defense. Lori Murray, is a DUI Lawyer in Columbia that has practiced in SC her entire career. She is very familiar with DUI laws in SC.
Lori is not only a DUI attorney, she's a former prosecutor too. As a former prosecutor, Lori gained experience which allows her to
look at your case from a different angle and provide you with a full analysis of your situation. Her experience as a former prosecutor has served clients well and
is not something that all Columbia DUI Attorneys can claim.
In some states DUI charges are traffic offenses, but that’s not the case in South Carolina. In SC a charge for DUI is a criminal charge. Fighting criminal charges is not easy, and is not something you want to brush off or try to handle alone.
DUI charges can be very overwhelming. If you have questions, you can go here to learn everything you need to know. From affecting employment to losing your freedom, the consequences of being convicted for a DUI charge in South Carolina will impact your life forever. For example, if you’re convicted of a DUI charge you could lose your job, your right to vote, your right to own a firearm, financial aid and more. Not to mention, if you are in the military, you could face further penalties and ultimately be discharged from service.
As you can imagine, a conviction would change your life forever and unfortunately there’s more. You could be facing penalties from two angles. DUI charges are unique in that they have two sides, an administrative side and a criminal side.
If you’re convicted of Driving Under the Influence in SC you face one of the following sentences:
- First Offense DUI
- This charge is a misdemeanor. Depending on your blood alcohol level (BAC) you could be facing up to a $1,000 fine, 90 days in jail, and an indefinite license suspension.
- Second Offense DUI
- This charge is a misdemeanor. Depending on your BAC level you could be facing up to a $6,500 fine, 3 years in jail, and an indefinite license suspension.
- Third Offense DUI
- This charge is a misdemeanor. Depending on your BAC level you could be facing up to a $10,000 fine, 5 years in jail, and an indefinite license suspension.
- Fourth or Subsequent Offense DUI
- This charge is a felony. Depending on your BAC level you could be facing up to 7 years in jail and an indefinite license suspension.
What About Prior Convictions?
Prior convictions could mean even harsher penalties due to South Carolina’s 10 year lookback period. This means that any previous convictions you have for DUI within the last 10 years will go against you.
For example, if you were convicted of DUI 3 years ago, your new DUI charge will be for Second Offense DUI. Here’s another example - if you were convicted of Second Offense DUI 5 years ago, your new DUI charge will be for Third Offense DUI.
As you can guess, the higher the offense number is, the stricter the penalty for the conviction will be.
Will a DUI conviction show up on my background check?
Yes! An DUI conviction will most definitely show up on your background check. It is very important to have an experienced criminal attorney on your side to help you through this process. A conviction for Driving Under the Influence can follow you for the rest of your life, so you should take it very seriously, and hire a serious DUI lawyer in Columbia, SC like Lori Murray.
Did you take a breathalyzer test?
If the police officer has reason to believe that you may be driving under the influence he or she will most likely ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. There are a few important things you need to know about this “request.” If you flat out refuse it your license will be automatically suspended. This is due to South Carolina’s Implied Consent Law, which says you impliedly consent to a chemical test for drugs and alcohol simply by driving in South Carolina. If you consent to the breath test the results will be used against you in your criminal case. If you are asked to take a breathalyzer test, do not blow and call an attorney!
What is the administrative side of a DUI?
The administrative side of a DUI is the part that involves the South Carolina DMV. Every DUI conviction comes with an automatic license suspension. The length of that suspension depends upon a lot of things, such as, your BAC level at the time of arrest and any prior license suspensions. On top of all that, you could be facing a longer license suspension if you chose to refuse a Breathalyzer test. If you refuse a test, your license suspension gets longer.
Can I fight the license suspension?
With the help of an experienced DUI attorney, you can fight the license suspension that results from refusing a chemical test for drugs and alcohol. This “fight” takes place at an Administrative Hearing. It is very important to remember that if you want to challenge the suspension you must do so by requesting a hearing within a certain period of time. If you request an administrative hearing, you may be eligible for a Temporary Alcohol Restricted License allowing you to drive while you are waiting on your hearing. At the hearing, the suspension will either be lifted and you will return to your regular license or the suspension will be placed back into effect and your temporary alcohol license will then be invalid.
Did the police have the right to stop your car?
In most cases, police officers need probable cause initiate a traffic stop. A few examples of things that may give an officer probable cause to stop you for drunk driving are: erratic driving, crossing lane markers, or driving very slow or very fast.
The probable cause standard can also be met if the police officer pulls you over for some other reason and while talking to you has probable cause to believe you are intoxicated. For example, you could get pulled over for a broken taillight, something that has nothing to do with drunk driving, and while talking to you the cop notices you are slurring your words or smell of alcohol.
In any case, the police have to have stopped you legally and must be able to articulate a reason for the stop. The stop must also be visible from the dashcam video. An experienced DUI attorney in Columbia, SC can comb through your case and analyze your stop. In some cases, if you were stopped illegally, evidence can get thrown out and charges can get dropped.
When should you speak with a DUI Lawyer in Columbia, SC?
You should talk to an attorney about your case right away! The more time that an attorney has to work on your DUI case the better. Having the right amount of time can have huge benefits. It could mean the difference between working out a good plea offer with the prosecutor or not being able to agree on a deal at all.
Let Me Help You Through Your DUI Case
If you’d like to speak with a Columbia, SC DUI Lawyer and former prosecutor that represents people for criminal offenses in Columbia, SC and surrounding areas call 803.779.4472 and ask for Lori Murray, or use this form to send her an email.
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