Facing a DUI charge in Orangeburg can be overwhelming. This is especially when the law clearly states the illegality of driving under the influence. According to Section 56-5-2930 of the South Carolina laws, it is illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
However, in this case, all hope is not lost. You can get arrested for DUI and still fight the charges. This article explores the defenses you can make if you face a DUI charge. To learn more, contact our experienced Orangeburg DUI defense attorneys today.
Legal Defenses for a DUI Charge
If the state has charged you with driving under the influence of alcohol, here are some go-to defenses:
No Record of the Traffic Stop
South Carolina laws dictate that police officers video record every DUI traffic stop. The rules are apparent as to how they are to record these stops. They must begin recording as soon as you turn on your blue lights and record the entirety of the encounter. But there are a few exceptions to this rule.
If exigent circumstances exist or it is physically impossible for the police officer to record, they are allowed not to. Now, if the officer forgot to start recording and did not record at all, that’s a defense. Of course, you would need to have an experienced Orangeburg DUI attorney representing you to identify these loopholes.
Failure to Follow Due Procedure
There are a few things that the police officer needs to do to ensure that your arrest is valid. First, they must read you your Miranda rights and inform you that they will record your breath test. They must also tell you that you can refuse the breath test.
They must also check your mouth and wait about 2o minutes before administering the breathalyzer and conducting the test according to SC directions. If the police officer failed to follow this procedure, you could have a solid defense to get you off your DUI charge.
Invalid Breathalyzer Test Results
Taking the breathalyzer test is not enough to render you guilty of DUI. There are a few things that a police officer could do to render the breathalyzer test inadmissible. This includes using a device that they did not recently calibrate to administer the test. In addition, when an untrained officer takes the text and does not follow the proper procedures, the test might also be invalid.
In South Carolina, one needs a blood alcohol concentration of above 0.08% to be said to be driving under the influence of alcohol. However, you can get a false positive for your BAC if you have a condition such as diabetes. This can happen in other circumstances, like if you recently used mouthwash or ate certain types of food.
It can also occur if you use certain cough or cold medications. In rare cases, your BAC level could also have increased to above 0.08% after the police pulled you over but not when you were driving. In these circumstances, the tests might be inadmissible.
Violations of Your Constitutional Rights
Every American has constitutional rights that officers cannot suspend even in the case of a DUI. These include:
- The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures
- The Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination
- The Fifth Amendment protection against double jeopardy
- The Sixth Amendment protection against surprise charges and evidence
- The Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel
- The Sixth Amendment right to a speedy and public trial
If any of the police violates any of your constitutional rights while arresting you or while they keep you in custody, you might avoid conviction. Your lawyer will have to ensure that he scours through the videos and asks the right questions to unearth any of these violations.
Inadequate Evidence of Impairment
BAC is not the only way that police officers can judge if you are driving impaired. According to the South Carolina Department of Safety, if you have a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08, officers may consider your BAC level along with other evidence to infer that you are under the influence.
As such, you might have some alcohol but can argue that your driving was not impaired by your intake of alcohol. You would need an experienced DUI attorney to make this defense for you and argue against whatever the prosecution brings up.
Speak to an Orangeburg DUI Attorney Today!
If you or any of your loved ones face a DUI charge in Orangeburg, you should immediately contact a DUI defense attorney. Our professional and experienced Orangeburg DUI lawyers will ensure that they build a solid defense for your case. To get started, book a free consultation with us today.