Sometimes, when we first meet with a client, they seem devastated that they’ve been arrested for DUI. Our Orangeburg DUI attorneys always explain to them that other charges could be pending. Here, we’ll explain what these other charges may be.
First, the State Must Prove That They Had Reasonable Suspicion to Pull You Over
In order for you to be arrested for DUI or any other related offense, the police must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over. All this means is that they have to believe that crime is being committed and that you’re involved.
If your Orangeburg DUI attorney can prove that the officers lacked reasonable suspicion, they will demand all charges be dismissed. Unfortunately, the State’s burden for proving reasonable suspicion is rather weak. It’s rare that the court would rule against them.
What Are the Signs the Police Will Look for When They Pull You Over for DUI?
The police don’t pull people over unless they have a good reason. While you may not be happy with the fact that you were stopped, the police have a duty to keep the roads safe.
Some of the things the cops look for when they suspect someone is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol include:
- You were weaving in and out of your lane
- You fail to stop at a red light or stop sign
- They see you pull out of a bar or club parking lot and are driving erratically
- The officers see you stumbling on your way to the car and then drive off
- They smell the odor of alcohol or marijuana when they approach your vehicle
- Your eyes are red and bloodshot
- You’re slurring your words and not making sense
Of course, there are other things that may convince the cops that you’re driving under the influence. These are just some of the more common ones.
There Is More Than One Standard the Police Use When It Comes to DUI
Just because you pass the breathalyzer test, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. In South Carolina, even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is less than the legal limit, you can still be charged and arrested for DUI.
If your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08, the police are going to presume that you’re impaired to some extent. This is why they have you perform the field sobriety test (FST). The idea is that this test will help determine if you’re able to safely operate your vehicle.
Was Your Blood Alcohol Concentration Above 0.08?
Obviously, if your BAC is above the legal limit of 0.08, you can be arrested for DUI. This will be considered a DUI per se. It just means that, regardless of what else you have going on, at a minimum, you’ll be arrested.
This is different from other cases in which a driver’s BAC is below 0.08 but they seem impaired to the point where it’s not safe for them to drive. For example, if your BAC is only 0.03 but the police suspect you just left the bar, your BAC may go up on the way to the station.
Did You Otherwise Appear Impaired to the Point Where You Couldn’t Safely Operate a Vehicle?
If the cops suspect that you’re impaired, they will have you perform a field sobriety test. This test is designed to test your coordination, response times, and reflexes. If you perform poorly on the FST, you will likely be arrested for DUI.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the FST, the cops have full discretion. For the most part, it doesn’t really matter how you perform. There’s a good chance you’ll be arrested. However, your Orangeburg DUI attorney can always argue confirmation bias.
Your Orangeburg DUI Attorney Will Fight the DUI Charges
Of course, the reason you hire a DUI lawyer in Orangeburg is so they can help you fight the charges. Ideally, your attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor and get the charges reduced or dismissed entirely.
The problem is that this will be a lot harder if you were charged with other offenses during the traffic stop. Your Orangeburg DUI attorney may have to negotiate a plea deal regarding all the charges that have been filed against you.
You Can Also Be Charged For Having an Open Container
One of the first things the police will do when they come to your window is to look to see if there are any open containers. If they see an open beer bottle or some other alcoholic beverage, you’ll be looking at an open container charge.
If you’re convicted of having an open container in your vehicle, you’ll be facing a fine of up to $100 and up to 30 days in jail. While South Carolina Revised Code §61-6-4020 treats beer and wine differently from liquor, the penalties are the same.
The Charges and Penalties Are the Same Whether It’s Beer, Wine, or Liquor
Now, if the container is in the trunk, luggage compartment, or cargo area, you should be fine. As long as you and your passengers cannot access it while inside the car, it’s perfectly legal.
You Will Definitely Want a DUI Lawyer in Orangeburg if You’re Arrested for Felony DUI
While adding an open container charge to a DUI is bad, it’s nothing compared to being charged with Felony DUI. If you happen to get into an accident while driving under the influence, you will face a felony charge.
You’ll be charged with felony DUI if anybody involved in the accident is seriously injured or passes away. According to South Carolina Revised Code §56-5-2933 and 56-5-2940, you can be penalized as follows.
- Great Bodily Injury – A mandatory fine of anywhere from $5,100 to $10,100 and a jail sentence of 30 days to 15 years
- Death – A mandatory fine of anywhere from $10,100 to $25,200 and a prison sentence from 1 to 25 years
Seeing how serious this offense is, you definitely want to have a DUI lawyer in Orangeburg there to represent you.
You May Also Be Penalized for Refusing the Breathalyzer, Blood, or Urine Test
A lot of our clients assume that if they refuse the breathalyzer test, they can be arrested for DUI. While you may still be arrested, you aren’t automatically guilty of DUI.
What will happen is your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 90 days. Your Orangeburg DUI attorney may be able to get you a temporary license, but there is no guarantee – especially if you wait too long to hire an experienced DUI lawyer in Orangeburg.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Hire an Experienced Orangeburg DUI Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, you’ll have to make your first court appearance right away. It’s a good idea to have an experienced Orangeburg DUI attorney there by your side. What you say to the judge at your first appearance can change the course of your case.
We suggest that you use your one phone call to contact one of our DUI lawyers in Orangeburg. If you aren’t able to do so, have a friend or family member call us for you. We can have one of our associates come to the jail and get started on your defense right away.