As DUI lawyers in Orangeburg, we’ve had to deal with cases where clients had doubts about the legality of their DUI charges. Therefore, we’ve written this article to provide some clarity on DUI charges in South Carolina and the steps you can take after your arrest.
What Is an Orangeburg DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) has gone by different names, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI) but has retained its meaning. Put simply, an Orangeburg DUI refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Driving in this state means that your ability to function adequately is compromised and could put you or other motorists in danger.
South Carolina is one of the worst-hit states in the country, with reports showing that almost 30% of all fatal accidents in 2019 were related to drunk driving. Consequently, it makes sense that the state has very strict laws regarding DUI. For example, you can be hit with an Orangeburg DUI charge even though you are not driving a vehicle.
All that is required is to be in a position where it can be argued that you were or could be in control of your vehicle. For example, you can face an Orangeburg DUI charge if you are caught sleeping in a car with the keys easily accessible to you.
Consequences of DUI
The punishment for a DUI charge in South Carolina often depends on whether you are a first-time offender or a repeat offender. How intoxicated you are could also contribute to your punishment, ranging from jail time to fines.
Generally, first-time offenders can expect to spend between 48 hours and 90 days. Second offenders could face between five days and three years in jail, while a third or subsequent offender face between 60 days and five years in jail. In addition to jail time, anyone convicted of DUI will pay fines between $400 and $10,000.
In addition to the fines and jail time, convicted DUI offenders can have their licenses suspended for a specific period. At the same time, some may need to install a mandatory ignition interlock device for at least six months.
Furthermore, a convicted DUI offender may be unable to buy firearms, obtain a passport or a government-issued student loan. Employers may also decide against hiring someone if they have a DUI conviction while families/relationships have ended due to DUI convictions.
Is My DUI Charge Legal?
Quite a few people who are charged with DUI claim they are innocent. However, that is not enough to get them off the hook. Therefore, hiring a lawyer before you are charged is probably the best decision you can make. For example, you may have been arrested while taking a nap in your car.
While you were not driving, you could still be charged with operating under the influence (OUI). You could also be pulled over by the cops even though you were not driving in a manner that suggested a lack of coordination. It could also be that while you were intoxicated at the time of your arrest, it was a result of prescription drugs that your doctor provided.
Determining if an Orangeburg DUI charge is legal will depend on your lawyer, as every case is different. An experienced Orangeburg DUI lawyer will listen to your story and compare it with the police report to fully grasp the situation. In the process, they may discover that the police were wrong to arrest you or had no basis for your arrest.
Your lawyer will guide you through the process, ensuring that you are properly represented while gathering evidence that could help your case. If you are guilty of some or all the charges, your lawyer may be able to get you a reduced sentence or fine. However, the onus lies on the prosecution to prove their case beyond doubt, and to do this, they must prove that you were in control of your vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Talk to DUI Lawyers in Orangeburg
The lawyer you choose to represent you in a DUI charge is a very important decision. Unfortunately, you cannot afford to choose an inexperienced person as the consequences of losing can be severe. However, having represented countless clients charged with a DUI offense, we are well-equipped to put up a strong defense and get you a favorable ruling.
Additionally, we offer free consultations to potential clients. We do this because we understand that you may have some questions before you choose. This allows you to get clarity on what you need to do. So don’t waste any more time. Give us a call now to speak with one of our DUI lawyers.