Facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge in South Carolina presents serious risks. At a minimum, you are facing thousands of dollars in fines, assessments, surcharges, and insurance premium increases—along with a six-month driver’s license suspension and 48 hours of jail time or community service. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.10% or above, if you refused the breath test, if you caused an accident, or if you already have a DUI, the consequences of a conviction could be far more significant.
As a result, you need to take your case very seriously. You also need to ensure that you are making intelligent decisions as you move forward.
With this in mind, we’ve prepared a list of “Dos” and “Don’ts” for individuals facing DUI charges in South Carolina. To be clear, this is not legal advice, and there is no substitute for legal representation. But, you need to be aware of some primary considerations, and we believe it is essential for anyone facing a DUI charge to understand their next steps. So, here is a brief introduction to what to do (and what not to do) while your DUI case is pending:
DO Make Sure You Understand Your Charge (or Charges)
A drunk driving arrest can lead to several charges under South Carolina law. For example, while most people are familiar with driving under the influence (DUI), most people don’t realize that there is an entirely separate crime called driving with a prohibited alcohol concentration (DUAC). While a DUI charge is based on your ability (or inability) to drive safely, a DUAC charge is based exclusively on your BAC.
Individuals arrested for drunk driving in South Carolina can also face various other charges. This includes everything from implied consent and open container violations to felony DUI charges.
Don’t Overlook Any of the Charges Against You
When dealing with a drunk driving case, you must ensure you do not overlook any of the charges you are facing. If you fail to successfully defend against a single charge, you can meet a conviction and sentencing in court. You need to execute a comprehensive defense strategy, which starts with knowing what you need to defend against.
DO Make Sure You Know Your Court Date
You must also know your court date when dealing with a drunk driving case. You must attend your initial appearance (unless your DUI defense lawyer advises otherwise). You need to make plans to be in court on time and know what to say (and what not to say) while you are there. This means you must talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Don’t Skip Your Initial Appearance
With a DUI (or DUAC) charge pending, you cannot afford to skip your initial appearance. The judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest if you do. You can also face an additional charge for failure to appear, which can carry penalties ranging from a $1,000 fine and a year of imprisonment to a $5,000 fine and five years behind bars.
DO Take Your DUI Case Very Seriously
As we said in the introduction, you must take your DUI case seriously. You face serious consequences, and taking your case seriously is the only way to avoid them. Taking your DUI case seriously starts with hiring an experienced lawyer to help you, and it involves working closely with your lawyer to ensure that you are doing everything you possibly can to avoid harsh sentencing in court.
Don’t Assume Your Case Will Go One Way or the Other
Taking your DUI case seriously also means not assuming that your case will go one way or another. Regardless of whether you were driving drunk, it would be best not to think you would be found “guilty” or “not guilty” in court. The way you approach your case will have a significant impact on its outcome.
DO Learn About the Defenses to DUI Charges in South Carolina
There are several ways to fight DUI (and DUAC) charges in South Carolina. To ensure that you are doing everything you can to protect yourself, you will want to learn about all the potentially available defenses. We encourage you to read our list of DUI defenses to start—and to make note of any defenses that you think may apply given the circumstances of your case.
Don’t Make Any All-Too-Common Mistakes
Overlooking potential defenses is one of several mistakes you must avoid when facing a DUI (or DUAC) charge. People make mistakes far too often, and their mistakes often lead to unnecessary consequences. We have prepared a list of 10 mistakes to avoid after you get arrested for drunk driving in South Carolina, and we encourage you to read this list as well.
DO Speak with a DUI Defense Lawyer As Soon As Possible
You should discuss your case with a DUI defense lawyer if it is unclear. Your situation is severe and can worsen if you aren’t careful. An experienced lawyer can help you in several ways, and it is firmly in your best interests to seek legal representation right away.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late To Get Help
A DUI defense lawyer can only help you if you act promptly. The clock starts ticking after a drunk driving arrest, and some options and opportunities are only available for a limited time. If you wait too long, it will be too late—and you will face consequences you could (and should) have avoided.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a DUI Defense Lawyer in North Charleston, SC
If you are facing a DUI (or DUAC) charge in the North Charleston area, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. To schedule a free consultation as soon as possible, call 843-225-5723 or tell us how we can reach you online now.