Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in South Carolina. That’s why you must hire an Orangeburg DUI defense attorney immediately if you have a DUI charge to defend. Without an experienced lawyer, your chances of a conviction skyrocket. In addition, you may pay heavy fines or even get a jail term in such cases.
A DUI typically refers to cases where a motorist drives with a higher blood alcohol content than the state allows. The seriousness of a DUI charge depends on several factors. One of such factors is whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor DUI or felony DUI. As you may already know, felonies carry steeper punishments than misdemeanors.
As a non-lawyer, it can be challenging to determine if your case is a felony DUI or a misdemeanor. However, it’s important to know where you stand from the get-go to enable you to manage your expectations. So, in this article, we’ll discuss misdemeanor and felony DUI in detail to help you determine their differences.
When Is DUI a Misdemeanor in Orangeburg, SC?
Misdemeanor means minor wrongdoing and merely driving under a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) without more is a misdemeanor DUI. That’s especially if it’s your first DUI offense and you didn’t cause injury to another person. The BAC limit in South Carolina is 0.08% for drivers over 21 years and 0.04% for commercial drivers. For those under 21 years, the limit is 0.02%.
A first and second DUI offense is a misdemeanor, and offenders risk jail time, fines, and license revocation. The severity of the punishment depends significantly on how high the BAC violation is.
When Is DUI a Felony in Orangeburg, SC?
Felonies are serious wrongdoings that carry worse punishments than misdemeanors. A DUI becomes a felony in South Carolina when:
It Results in Injury or Death
Even on your first DUI, you can be charged with a felony if you caused someone’s death or injured another. South Carolina’s DUI laws refer to such injuries as “serious bodily injury.” They include loss of limbs, severe or permanent disfigurement, or impaired function. It also includes situations where you put someone at high risk of death.
There are many situations where this is possible. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol impairs your thinking and poses a danger to yourself and others. You can quickly get in a car accident with another driver or hit a pedestrian and cause severe injuries to them.
You’re a Past Offender
As a first or second DUI offender in Orangeburg, you may get away with misdemeanor DUI. However, upon your third and subsequent infractions, you’re at risk of a felony DUI charge.
You Were Transporting a Child
The law expects you to drive on the road in a way that doesn’t harm orders. When a child is involved, you must exercise extra caution. Endangering the life of a child through your DUI is felony child endangerment.
What Are the Consequences of a Felony DUI?
Like misdemeanor DUIs, felony DUIs result in fines and jail terms. However, felony DUIs carry longer, mandatory sentencing and higher fines. For example, if your DUI caused someone’s death, you’re at risk of a mandatory 1-25 years in jail. You’ll also pay a mandatory fine of up to $25,100 and have your license suspended.
Apart from the legal consequences, a DUI conviction stays on your record and can tarnish your name forever. In addition, it may destroy your relationships, make it difficult to secure jobs or continue your education after your release.
Can I Expunge a DUI Charge From My Record in South Carolina?
Expungement is a court order that mandates relevant agencies to delete your negative records. If your criminal records are deleted, it functions like they were never there in the first place. However, in South Carolina, you can only erase dismissed and dropped criminal charges. You cannot delete convictions from your records.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney in Orangeburg Immediately
Were you charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI in Orangeburg, SC? Then, you must consult with a qualified DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Even if your DUI is a misdemeanor, you’re still at risk of specific adverse consequences.
Consulting with our experienced DUI defense attorneys at Orangeburg DUI Guy puts you in a vantage position in your case. With our extensive experience in DUI matters, we are confident in our ability to handle your case satisfactorily. If you or your loved one has been arrested for DUI in Orangeburg, time is of the essence. Contact our law office right now.