Were you charged with DUI in Orangeburg, South Carolina? Then you may be wondering whether it is considered a misdemeanor or a felony. The answer isn’t always straightforward as it depends on the circumstances surrounding your case.
We’ll break down what constitutes a misdemeanor versus a felony charge for DUI. Additionally, we’ll discuss when your offense can escalate to a more serious charge and how hiring an experienced Orangeburg DUI lawyer can help protect your rights.
A DUI Is Usually a Misdemeanor in South Carolina
In South Carolina, most DUI charges represent a misdemeanor offense. A misdemeanor is typically less serious than a felony and carries less severe penalties.
However, just because most DUI charges are misdemeanors does not mean that they should be taken lightly. Even a first-time offender can face fines, license suspension, and possible jail time if convicted of driving under the influence.
In addition to these consequences, having a DUI on your record can impact other areas of your life as well. It may make it harder to find employment or housing in the future and could also result in increased insurance premiums.
For this reason, it is important to take any DUI charge seriously and seek legal representation from an experienced Orangeburg DUI lawyer who can help protect your rights and work towards reducing or dismissing the charges against you.
Aggravating Circumstances Make a DUI a Felony
In South Carolina, most DUI charges are classified as misdemeanors. However, there are certain aggravating circumstances that can elevate the charge to a felony with harsher penalties.
1. Causing an Accident Resulting in Bodily Injury or Death
Causing an accident resulting in bodily injury or death can lead to a felony DUI charge in South Carolina. In such cases, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving and caused an accident leading to someone’s injury or death.
The penalties for a conviction can include substantial fines, lengthy prison sentences, and permanent revocation of your driver’s license.
An attorney may challenge evidence against you or argue for alternative sentencing options such as rehabilitation programs rather than jail time. They will fight tirelessly on your behalf to minimize the impact of these devastating charges on your life and future opportunities.
2. Having Minor Passengers in the Car
If were pulled over for a DUI check and have minor passengers in the car, your case may be elevated to a felony if you are charged. This is because driving under the influence with children in the vehicle is considered an aggravating circumstance.
3. Being Charged With the Third DUI
Getting charged with a DUI in Orangeburg is serious enough, but being charged with your third can have even more severe consequences. In South Carolina, the law takes multiple DUI offenses very seriously and penalties become harsher for each subsequent conviction.
If you are facing your third DUI charge will likely be considered a felony offense. Felony charges carry much harsher penalties than misdemeanors and can result in lengthy prison sentences, large fines, and other devastating consequences such as loss of driving privileges.
The state of South Carolina has set mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for multiple DUI convictions which include jail time ranging from 60 days to five years depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. Additionally, hefty fines may be issued along with community service requirements and mandatory participation in an alcohol treatment program.
Hire an Experienced Orangeburg DUI Lawyer to Protect Your Rights!
Most DUI offenses are misdemeanors, but there are certain circumstances that can elevate the charge to a felony.
Regardless of whether your case is being charged as a misdemeanor or felony, it is essential to have an experienced Orangeburg DUI lawyer on your side. We can review the evidence against you and help build a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific situation.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation!