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Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
DUIs happen every day in South Carolina, and it’s one of the most common criminal charges across the country. Despite how common it is, a charge of DUI is something you need to take seriously. You can’t risk not fighting a charge, even if it is your first one. If you’re facing a conviction in court, you need to speak with a Pawleys Island DUI lawyer and law firm and recruit their help to your case.
At Axelrod & Associates, we have experience with handling numerous DUI cases. We can work with you to craft a thorough legal defense and try to avoid a conviction. If this isn’t possible, we can work to get you a lighter sentence so you can get back to your normal life as soon as possible.
At Axelrod & Associates, we have in-depth knowledge about providing a defense for a criminal charge like DUI. We know that anyone charged with a DUI is dealing with many emotions as a result of the situation and needs help. We can assist you through every step of the process and treat your case with the empathy it deserves. We won’t pass judgments; we will simply work to try to get you a fair day in court.
Our team has over 100 years of combined legal experience, and we can leverage our knowledge and past cases to help you. We’ve crafted numerous defenses for DUI and can use whatever tools are appropriate to help you through the case.
DUI in South Carolina covers any person operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a mind-altering substance. While the typical thing we think of when we hear DUI is alcohol, you can find yourself dealing with a charge if the police find other drugs in your system.
Officers can only pull someone over for a DUI stop if they observe suspicious behavior that gives them probable cause. This is a bit of a broad term, but the officer must have a reason to believe the driver is potentially drunk before conducting a stop. The officer may notice the driver is swerving over the center line or did not come to a complete stop at a stop sign, for example.
The officer will then interview the suspect and may compel the driver to submit to field sobriety tests. Drivers can refuse these tests, but this will likely lead to the officer suspending the suspect’s driver’s license.
Unlike other states, South Carolina does not give officers unilateral authority to order someone to take a blood test after a field sobriety test. Officers may only order a blood test in extreme situations.
South Carolina also differs from other states in that it does not allow officers to arrest someone just for sitting behind the wheel while intoxicated. If you weren’t operating the vehicle, the officers have no authority to arrest you, even if you are above the legal limit.
In South Carolina, like every state in the union, the limit for a person’s blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent. If you are at or above this number, the officer can arrest you and charge you with driving under the influence.
Generally speaking, almost every DUI in South Carolina is a misdemeanor. There are two main reasons why someone might face a felony charge for DUI in Pawleys Island, SC.
If the defendant caused the death of someone or seriously injured another person while driving under the influence, the state will most likely charge the driver with a felony for the DUI. Additionally, the state will usually charge someone with a felony DUI if this is their fourth infraction.
DUI penalties vary greatly, depending on which offense it is for someone and what their blood alcohol content was at the time of the arrest. A first-time offender who comes in just above the legal limit will get a much lighter sentence than a multi-time offender who is double the legal limit. You’ll want to speak to your Pawleys Island attorney about what penalties you’ll face in your specific case.
While this page can’t tell you exactly what kind of sentence you face, we can give you a general idea of what you’ll be facing if a jury finds you guilty.
Aside from prison time, a judge may choose other methods to punish offenders. For instance, you have to comply with an ignition interlock device. These devices will check your BAC before you can start your car. Beginning in May of 2024, this device will be a standard feature for anyone convicted of a DUI.
Judges may also sentence you to counseling to try to help you avoid another DUI conviction.
South Carolina, unlike some states in the union, does not allow a person to seek an expungement of a DUI from their criminal record. The DUI will remain on your criminal record forever.
Prospective employers can see this criminal record if they conduct a background check and may use the information against you and hire someone else. This lack of expungement possibility makes it vital to always fight a DUI if the state charges you with one.
Although your criminal record will not change, the state will only pay attention to DUIs from the last ten years. Judges will not look at any older DUIs when determining your sentence.
Hiring an attorney is something you should always do after law enforcement charges you with a DUI. A DUI will stay on your record forever and can lead to you dealing with several negative consequences down the line. Hiring an attorney gives you a better chance of avoiding a conviction than going it alone.
A: You can seek a reduced sentence for your DUI by entering into a plea deal with the prosecutor. In a plea deal, you will have to admit guilt to a smaller crime, but you will get a lighter sentence out of the exchange. You should speak with your attorney to see if they believe a plea deal is worth pursuing in your case.
A: The judge may sentence someone to a small stint in jail after a first-time offense for a DUI. You may also face a fine, probation, counseling, or community service if the court finds you guilty. Beginning in May of 2024, all people convicted of DUI will have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
A: The highest possible fine you can face is when the court finds you guilty of a felony DUI. A felony DUI will result from it being your fourth conviction for the crime or you causing the death or serious injury of another person while driving under the influence. The range of fines for a felony DUI goes from $5,000 to $10,000 before additional fees.
A: Judges have total discretion when it comes to determining the bond in a DUI case. As such, the outcome can vary greatly depending on the facts of the case. Judges will look at any prior arrests and aggravating circumstances when determining bond. Some cases will result in the defendant not having to pay bond, while other defendants may have to put up a few thousand dollars.
You have to take every DUI seriously, as a conviction can change your life forever. You shouldn’t laugh off a first-time offense. Though the penalties may seem minor, they carry the risk of long-term problems with employment or more serious consequences if you drive under the influence again.
If you’re facing a DUI conviction, don’t wait. Contact us today at Axelrod & Associates, and let us fight for you in court. We’ll do whatever we can to try to help you avoid a conviction.
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