The city of Orangeburg in South Carolina is strict when dealing with DUI cases. When you are charged with DUI in Orangeburg, it isn’t easy to stay calm, given you will be under the eyes of the law for some time. You could be embarrassed, stressed, or even angry, especially if you are wrongly accused of driving under influence.
But this is not the time to get overwhelmed by the whole DUI thing. It is the time to take action to minimize damage to your finances, job, and, more importantly, family. Contacting the best Orangeburg DUI defense lawyer is a good idea. Here are some of the penalties you may face if arrested for a DUI in Orangeburg.
Criminal Penalties for DUI in Orangeburg
There can be two types of conviction for DUI in Orangeburg. Either the person is charged for DUI for the first time or charged under a subsequent conviction where he has already faced a DUI in Orangeburg previously. Whatever the case, the convicted has to remain in jail.
- Anyone charged under the first offense has to spend at least 48 hours to 90 days in jail as part of the penalty. Second offenders have a minimum sentence of five days to three years. This period ranges from 60 days to five years for third offenders and the subsequent ones. These serious penalties are reasons enough to hire a DUI attorney.
- Apart from the jail term, those charged with DUI have to pay fines that increase for subsequent offenses. If it is a first-time offense, you may have to pay a fine of $400 to $1000 as part of the penalty. For third and subsequent offenses, this amount becomes $10,000. For DUI charges, these may not be the only penalties.
In some of the cases, it is noticed that the above-mentioned penalties are accompanied by a license suspension. The license can be suspended for six months to two years. But if the offense is committed for the fourth time, you can expect permanent forfeiture. Having a DUI lawyer by your side can help lower the jail terms and fines.
A first-time offender who tests below a critical value of 0.15 but is still above the legally permissible limit needs to pay the fine and complete the jail time before they are free. On the contrary, those who get arrested for DUI a second time or above and below 0.15 or higher must install an ignition interlock device for six months.
This law was added recently to South Carolina DUI Law and is known as Emma’s Law. Emma was a 6-year-old girl who got killed by a drunk driver, and it was after this incident, the law was amended.
The consequences of a DUI in Orangeburg do not end with these penalties. Many personal freedoms might be curbed because of your DUI convictions. These include the inability to work with children, purchase a firearm, get a government student loan, and get employment. Sometimes, you may not be authorized to get a professional license anymore.
Certain cases make your auto insurance premiums so high that you will often end up spending the last penny that remains to pay the premium. It is also likely that your insurance company will abandon you, making it nearly impossible for you to convince another insurance company to insure you.
What Defenses Can Prove Helpful for You?
Luckily for DUI in Orangeburg offenders, there can be many defenses that work in favor of them to reduce the penalties. It is mostly up to the DUI attorneys to use particular defenses that are apt for your specific case. Given below are some defenses commonly used for DUI cases.
- The police officer cannot prove that you were driving or completely controlling the vehicle.
- The officer could not justify, based on the law, why he had to stop your vehicle.
- While arresting you, the officer failed to follow the mandatory legal procedures. In such cases, the evidence he collected during the arrest becomes invalid and cannot be used anymore.
- You think there was no valid reason for the officer to stop, detain or arrest you. The reason you think is your race or ethnicity and not because you were driving under influence.
- The police officer did not read the Miranda warning while arresting you. If you were properly Mirandized, the officer would have explained your right to remain silent while being questioned by the officials. This is to avoid using your own statements against you in the case. If there was no Miranda warning given, some of the evidence might not be considered at trial.
- If the officer accuses you of having unclear speech or bloodshot eyes indicating that you were intoxicated, you can prove that these conditions stem from a medical condition or a prescription medication.
- If the officer says that your performance on the field sobriety tests was poor, you can claim that it is because of any of the following legitimate reasons: a medical condition, nervousness, the footwear, a prescription drug, or an over-the-counter drug you are taking, your age, an illness or confusing instructions from the officer.
- The officer who made you take the test was not properly trained to use the Breathalyzer machine, or the machine was not properly calibrated.
Role of an Orangeburg DUI Defense Lawyer
An attorney is the best person to lean on for legal help, especially if you are arrested for DUI in Orangeburg. He can gather evidence for you and even help in preserving them. He will thoroughly investigate the case and help you get out of it if you are innocent.
An attorney can play a huge role in avoiding a criminal record which can actually hamper your professional life and even prevent the dismissal of your driving license. An expert lawyer knows what works and doesn’t regarding the defense system. Consulting an attorney at the earliest can save you from a lifelong bad record.
Having a DUI attorney fight for you in Orangeburg can be highly beneficial for you in any case. You might decide to fight the case or plead guilty but remember to have a word with the lawyer before taking this important decision. An expert criminal defense attorney in Orangeburg, SC, may be able to suggest better options like pleading a bargain to reckless driving or something similar that calls for reduced penalties.