DUI Defense

We understand that South Carolina law enforcement officers strive to put impaired drivers behind bars. Harris and Huge work hard to win these cases and beat field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, drug offense cases, and even felony DUI cases. Even if you lost your license, we’ll get it back fast! Quick action is the best way to help your case.

License Suspensions:

Having a suspended license is one of the most limiting aspects of your freedom after being convicted of a DUI, DWI, or OWI. At Harris and Huge law firm, we understand how important it is to reinstate your license or grant you temporary driving privileges.

In the state of South Carolina, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. The limit is lower for commercial drivers and zero tolerance for underage drinkers. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of any controlled substance. Laws are set in place to protect all citizens, so if you drink and drive you risk your freedom, finances, and your future.

An administrative penalty you may face with the South Carolina DMV is a suspension of your driving privileges.

  • For 1st Offense: Suspension of driver’s license for 6 months
  • For 2nd Offense: Suspension of driver’s license for 1 year
  • For 3rd Offense: Suspension of driver’s license for 2 years

 

After you have satisfied the South Carolina state requirements for a DUI-related offense, you will need to do the following to get your license reinstated after your suspension period is over:

  • Pay reinstatement fee
  • Provide an SR-22 for proof of insurance
  • Complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Pass a knowledge test and driving skills test

 

Underage Drinking:

If you are under the age of 21 and you received a DUI, DWI, or OWI, chances are your BAC was .02% or higher or you refused to submit to a breathalyzer or field sobriety test. A loss of driving privileges for underage drinkers includes:

  • 3 month license suspension for 1st offense
  • 6 month license suspension for 2nd offense within 5 years of the first offense
  • 6 month suspension if you refuse to submit to a BAC chemical test

 

South Carolina DUI Laws:

In the state of South Carolina, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. The limit is lower for commercial drivers and the BAC for underage drinkers is .02%. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of any controlled substance. Laws are set in place to protect all citizens, so if you drink and drive you risk your freedom, finances, and your future.

A lot of drinkers think they can balance their BAC by watching how much they drink, but it’s not that cut and dry. The number of drinks you can consumer before going over .08% depends on your body type, how much you ate that day, weight, sex, body fat percentage, and the time interval between drinks.

Some states allow for the plea of a lesser charge, also known as “Wet Reckless,” but not in the state of South Carolina and about 12 dozen other states. South Carolina has laws that limit plea bargains to prohibit reducing a DUI to a non-DUI charge or reckless driving involving alcohol. Your best bet is to just not get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you’ve had any alcoholic beverages.

Conviction Penalties:

Drinking and driving is a very serious and dangerous offense in South Carolina. You could face heavy fines, jail time, suspension of your driver’s license, ignition interlock device requirements, alcohol and drug safety programs, and reinstatement fees. If you’ve been arrested at a DUI checkpoint, contact one of our attorneys as soon as possible.

Here are some examples of criminal penalties you can expect to face if charged with a DUI or DWI:

  • For 1st Offense, you could face: $400 fine and/or; 48 hours -30 days of jail time or community service, and/or suspension of driver’s license. for 6 months
  • For 2nd Offense, you may face: $2,100 – $5,100 fine, 5 days – 1 year of jail time, and/or suspension of driver’s license for 1 year.
  • For 3rd Offense, you may face: $3,800 – $6,300 fine, 60 days – 3 years of jail time, and/or suspension of driver’s license for 2 years.

 

Field Sobriety Tests:

Law enforcement officers use the same field sobriety tests, or FSTs, in all states. These tests are used to help establish probable cause to make an arrest by estimating that person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Prosecutors heavily rely on these results to present evidence in cases of drunk driving. Although you may refuse to submit to a field sobriety test, you may still be arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving.

Each of the three field sobriety tests are designed to measure a specific response or reflex believed to be altered if someone has been drinking. The following field sobriety tests include:

  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus –Measures the involuntary movement or jerking or the eye. This test is usually performed by placing an object in front of the person’s face who is asked to follow the object with their eyes while their head remains stationary. The officer will be looking for jerking, non-smooth eye movements and if the jerking angle is within 45-degrees of the center of the eye.
  • One-legged Stand –Measures your divided attention to test coordination and the ability to follow specific instructions. This test is usually performed by walking forward heel-to-toe along a straight line, then they are to turn around and walk back in the same manner. The office will look for:
  1. Not following instructions
  2. Improper balance while listening to instructions
  3. Pausing to regain balance
  4. Does not walk heel-to-toe
  5. Stepping off the line
  6. Using arms for balance
  7. Improper turns
  • Walk and Turn Tests – Measures your divided attention to test coordination and the ability to follow specific instructions. This test is usually performed by standing still with one foot raised off the ground in front of your body for a period of time. The officer will look for swaying, falling, hopping, and dropping the foot.

 

Out of Town DUI:

If you got caught driving under the influence while on vacation or out of town from where you live, the laws are likely very similar. Harris and Huge LLC has experience representing those who were arrested while visiting Charleston, SC. It is important to understand that although you may have been charged out-of-state, the charge could still affect your driving privileges in your home-state. Contact a DUI defense attorney to get legal representation as soon as possible.

HARRIS & HUGE, LLC
CRIMINAL DEFENSE & CIVIL LITIGATION

Harris and Huge is a local Charleston law firm focusing on DUI Defense, Criminal Law Defense, Corporate Law, and Personal Injury.

When you or your loved one is accused of a crime in South Carolina, there is a terrible reality that jail time may be present. Harris & Huge can provide you or your loved one an attorney who can negotiate with solicitors, arrange for a reduction in charge, a lesser sentencing, or possibly, a dismissal.

call today for a free consultation - 843.814.8770