DUI Defense Charleston, SC
We understand that South Carolina law enforcement officers strive to put impaired drivers behind bars. If you are charged with DUI, you can count on Harris and Huge to work hard to defend you and challenge field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, and other parts of the state’s case. Our attorneys have over 10 years’ experience defending DUI and felony DUI cases and obtaining favorable results for our DUI clients, from reduced charges to outright dismissals. Often when you are charged with DUI, your driver’s license will be taken, and we can help you get your license back quickly. We also defend those accused of drug offenses and other criminal charges and can advise you of your rights and options in these matters quickly. Quick action is the best way to help your case.
Having a suspended license is one of the most limiting aspects of your freedom after being convicted of a DUI. At Harris and Huge law firm, we understand how important it is to reinstate your license or grant you temporary driving privileges, and we can help you with this process.
In the state of South Carolina, generally speaking, 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.
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
If you are under the age of 21 and you received a DUI 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.
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
- 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.
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.
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:
- Not following instructions
- Improper balance while listening to instructions
- Pausing to regain balance
- Does not walk heel-to-toe
- Stepping off the line
- Using arms for balance
- Improper turns
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.