Representing York, Lancaster, and Chester County clients accused of driving under the influence
In South Carolina, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, or when impaired by drugs and/or alcohol. You can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC) when your mental and physical faculties are materially, appreciably impaired; a BAC of .08 is only one factor in these charges.
You stand to lose everything if you're convicted of DUI. As an experienced former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, I have successfully handled hundreds of DUI cases. My time as a prosecutor gave me the necessary insight to understand which charges are considered more serious and need to be tried versus those where a deal can be struck to reduce your punishment. Call Holland Law in Rock Hill or Fort Mill to meet with a DUI defense lawyer.
Penalties for DUI convictions in Fort Mill, Rock Hill, or anywhere in South Carolina
South Carolina Code § 56-5-2930 sets out the penalties for various levels of DUI convictions. You can suffer life-altering repercussions for driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol upon conviction, entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or forfeiture of bail. Each sentence varies based upon your level of intoxication and whether you've been charged and/or convicted before:
- 1st offense. A minimum fine of $400 to a maximum of $1,000, or imprisonment for a minimum of 48 hours to a maximum of 90 days. It may be possible for your defense attorney to negotiate the sentence of incarceration down to community service hours.
- 2nd offense. A minimum fine of $2,100 to a maximum of $6,500, and imprisonment for a minimum of 5 days to a maximum of 3 years.
- 3rd offense. A minimum fine of $3,800 to a maximum of $10,000, and imprisonment for a minimum of 60 days to a maximum of 5 years.
- 4th or subsequent offense. A minimum term of imprisonment for 1 year to a maximum of 7 years. The sentence varies based upon your level of intoxication.
Additional sentencing applies to each offense where anyone convicted of DUI must enroll in and successfully complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program certified by the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. You may be required to pay a maximum fee of $2,500 to participate in the program. If you are unable to pay, you will be required to complete 50 hours of community service as compensation for the program fee.
Depending upon the circumstances surrounding your DUI charge, you may be facing other criminal charges, including drug charges or weapons charges. You could face BUI charges if you were operating a watercraft.These charges can seriously compound the penalties you are already facing. Holland Law can help you fight any additional criminal charges resulting from your DUI arrest to reduce the consequences you face.
Felony DUI in South Carolina
When you cause great bodily injury or death to another person as a result of your intoxication, you will be charged with felony DUI. South Carolina Code § 56-5-2945 provides stiff penalties for this offense that give you no chance to escape prison time if you are convicted.
- Great bodily injury. You'll pay a mandatory fine between $5,100 and $10,100 and be imprisoned for a period of 30 days to 15 years.
- Death. You'll pay a mandatory fine between $10,100 and $25,100 and be imprisoned for a period of 1 to 25 years.
There is no eligibility for probation for any portion of your sentence under either of these crimes, so it is imperative to fight for the lowest penalty possible.
Additional felony penalties include:
- Suspension of your driver's license, which must run concurrently with your prison sentence if the conviction is based on a single incident. Otherwise, the suspension may run consecutively upon your release.
- Enrollment in the Ignition Interlock Device Program.
- Payment of fees to have your driver's license reinstated with an ignition interlock restricted license once your suspension ends.
- Having an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle for 3 years if you caused great bodily harm or 5 years if you caused a death.
A Fort Mill and Rock Hill DUI defense attorney's job is to find reasons that will provide solid leverage to argue for lesser time in cases where conviction is imminent. An experienced attorney will know all avenues to pursue to maximize your chances for obtaining a reduced sentence.
Will a DUI conviction require SR-22 insurance?
Once you have completed your sentence, and complied with every other expensive requirement to start putting your life back on track, you'll discover there's one more hitch; SR-22 insurance coverage. SR-22 is a guarantee that you will carry the state's minimum liability limits for insurance coverage because you are now considered to be high-risk driver. SR-22 is a form that gets filed with the state Department of Motor Vehicles as proof that you carry the proper insurance coverage, which you must carry for at least 3 years.
Being required to have an SR-22 can make driving prohibitive due to the cost, which is determined based upon the moving violation and number of points levied against your driving record. If you allow your insurance policy to lapse or it becomes canceled for any other reason, your insurer will be required to notify the DMV, which will suspend your license until you can reinstate your SR-22 policy. You could also be looking at additional fines.
Commercial drivers can lose everything
If you are a CDL holder, your entire livelihood hinges on maintaining a clean driving record. A DUI, or string of them, can prevent you from obtaining a commercial driver's license, can cause your license to be suspended for a period of time causing you to lose your job. You can even end up having your license permanently revoked, ending your driving career for good.
- You risk suspension of your CDL in South Carolina for 1 year if you:
- Are convicted of DUI or Driving With an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) while behind the wheel or any motor vehicle.
- Are arrested for DUI while operating a commercial vehicle with a breath sample of 0.04% BAC.
- Refuse to provide implied consent to submit to BAC testing.
You risk suspension of your CDL for 3 years if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time of your DUI arrest and are successfully convicted. Upon 2 convictions for DUI, your CDL is permanently revoked.
Consequences of DUI for servicemembers
Any member of the military who receives a DUI is looking at his or her career path trajectory drastically changing if a conviction is secured. A DUI is punishable not only under state law in a civilian court, but also under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). It is vital to your livelihood to hire an attorney to defend you who is highly experienced in the handling of DUI cases.
Civilian penalties already stated above are only half of what you are looking at facing. A conviction can cause:
- Loss of security clearance
- Loss of rank
- Loss of pay
- Loss of future promotions
- High year tenure forcing early retirement
Impacts of a DUI can be limiting on your personal life and post-military career aspirations.
- You may lose your spouse and children over financial hardship and instability.
- Civilian employers aren't willing to take on the liability of someone convicted of DUI.
- Business and professional licenses can be tough to obtain to become self-employed.
Knowing a potential employee has had a DUI connotes a lack of responsibility and reliability that employers shy away from, regardless of the story behind it. Maybe you'll get a chance to explain, but when you are competing against 20 other applicants who are equally qualified, it's unlikely. Holland Law will work hard to negotiate for reduced charges or even a dismissal, when possible, which will go far in helping you manage any career damage.
Did you receive a DUI while passing through South Carolina?
South Carolina sees many out of state visitors passing through for business and pleasure up and down I-77, which cuts a path straight through York and Chester Counties. With the Charlotte metropolitan area being a stone's throw away, DUI's can be obtained by anyone from anywhere who crosses the state line.
South Carolina participates in both the Driver's License Compact and Non-resident Violator Compact, which means violations received within state borders will be reported to your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. A DUI may lead to suspension of your state driver's license, which can impact your employment and other life activities.
How a trusted Fort Mill and Rock Hill DUI defense attorney can help you
There are explanations for why you may have registered over the legal limit that can help in defending you against a DUI charge. Upon retaining Holland Law to defend your DUI charge, I will aggressively take charge of your case by:
- Getting a complete chronology from you detailing the events leading to your DUI.
- Thoroughly investigating the facts to find discrepancies in the state's case.
- Reviewing the state's evidence against you.
- Using procedural rules to eliminate improper evidence from being used against you.
- Initiating negotiations with the solicitor to reduce or drop the charges against you.
- Educating you on the pros and cons of all of your available legal options.
- Fighting to obtain a lesser sentence for an unavoidable conviction.
- Preserving your right to appeal the verdict.
- Managing your expectations to help reduce your stress level during a difficult situation.
- Trying your case.
I know the uncertainty that comes with a DUI allegation. You need an attorney who understands what you are up against and knows the best strategy to return your life to normal as quickly as possible.
How to fight a DUI charge
Giving your attorney as much information as possible about everything that happened from the hours immediately preceding the traffic stop to the time you underwent BAC testing, will provide opportunities to challenge your charges. Even communications with law enforcement since your arrest may help in crafting your defense. I will review your entire case including:
- Whether or not the stop, your arrest or detention was lawful.
- How much time passed between your arrest and BAC testing.
- Whether or not you were verbally informed and given a written copy of your rights regarding giving implied consent to BAC testing.
- Whether you actually did consent to having your BAC tested.
- Whether your reported alcohol concentration at the time of testing was within range for being legally intoxicated.
- Whether the individual who administered the test or took samples was qualified pursuant to state law.
- Whether testing and sample collection procedures were followed in compliance with state law.
- Whether the testing machine worked properly.
There are arguments that can be made for each one of these factors, such as a diagnosed medical condition causing inaccurate test results.
Experienced drunk driving representation to safeguard your freedom
At Holland Law, we provide a personalized experience for our DUI clients in York, Lancaster, and Chester Counties. Facing a DUI can be scary. The faster you seek legal help the more options there are to defend against your charges. If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI for drug or alcohol use, call today to schedule a consultation with me in either my Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in my Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue, please call 803-219-2630, or reach out to me through my contact page.