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Sumter DUI Lawyer

Sumter DUI Lawyer

Sumter DUI Attorney

If you’re facing DUI charges, then you could be looking at serious consequences if you’re convicted. While jail time isn’t given in every circumstance, it is a potential penalty for even a first DUI. With everything that’s at stake with a DUI, it’s important to recognize that you need a serious defense to respond to the accusation. A Sumter DUI lawyer, like one from Axelrod & Associates, can help investigate your charges and prepare a persuasive defense.

While not always the case, there are DUIs that have been successfully dismissed before a trial or even won in court. It’s critical that you work with the right lawyer to give yourself a fair chance of achieving a similar outcome.

Sumter DUI Lawyer

DUI Charges in Sumter

When someone in Sumter, NC is impaired and unable to operate their vehicle safely as a result of intoxication, they run the risk of being charged with a DUI. The most common, though not the only, means of assessing a DUI is done through a blood alcohol concentration test. This is administered by an officer at the time that someone is pulled over. As an implied consent state, it is illegal for drivers on South Carolina roads to refuse these tests.

The criteria that could result in DUI charges are:

  • For drivers of 21 or older, a BAC of or greater than 0.08% leads to a DUI.
  • For drivers under 21, there is a zero-tolerance policy, which means that the detectable presence of any alcohol results in a DUI charge.
  • For drivers of commercial vehicles, the threshold is lowered to a BAC of or greater than 0.04%.
  • Impairment as the result of a drug, whether a controlled substance, prescription medication, or over-the-counter drug, can lead to a DUI.
  • Regardless of the alcohol present in someone’s system, an officer recognizing impairment can lead to a DUI charge.

DUI Penalties

DUI penalties in South Carolina have ranges that are determined based on the BAC test result and on how many drunk driving offenses the driver has. The number of offenses looks back ten years, so if someone has had a prior offense nine years ago and five years ago, a new offense would be their third, and their penalty would fall in those ranges.

A judge will consider a variety of factors when determining the exact penalty for a DUI. Some of the penalties involved include fines, license suspensions, an interlock ignition device, and jail time.

1st Offense

A 1st offense is a misdemeanor charge and carries penalties based on:

  • BAC Under 0.10%
    • License Suspension – Six months
    • Fine – $400
    • Jail Term – 2-30 days
  • BAC Between 0.10% and 0.16%
    • License Suspension – Six months
    • Fine – $500
    • Jail Term – 3-30 days
  • BAC Over 0.16%
    • License Suspension – Six months
    • Fine – $1000
    • Jail Term – 30-90 days

If the judge sees fit, they may replace the fine or jail time with community service.

2nd Offense

A 2nd offense is a misdemeanor charge, and its penalties are based on:

  • BAC Under 0.10%
    • License Suspension – One year
    • Fine – $2100-$5100
    • Jail Term – Five days to one year
  • BAC Between 0.10% and 0.16%
    • License Suspension – One year
    • Fine – $2500-$5500
    • Jail Term – 30 days to two years
  • BAC Over 0.16%
    • License Suspension – One year
    • Fine – $3500-$6500
    • Jail Term – 90 days to three years

At your expense, an interlock ignition device is required after a second offense. At the judge’s discretion, a second offense could be suspended with a minimum fine of $1100.

3rd Offense

A 3rd offense is a misdemeanor charge, and it carries penalties based on:

  • BAC Under 0.10%
    • License Suspension – Two years
    • Fine – $3800-$6300
    • Jail Term – 60 days to three years
  • BAC Between 0.10% and 0.16%
    • License Suspension – Two years
    • Fine – $5000-$7500
    • Jail Term – 90 days to four years
  • BAC Over 0.16%
    • License Suspension – Two years
    • Fine – $7500-$10,000
    • Jail Term – 6 months to five years

At your expense, an interlock ignition device is required after a third offense. If the third offense occurs within five years of the previous offense, then the license suspension increases to four years.

4th Offense

A 4th offense is a felony charge, with penalties based on:

  • BAC Under 0.10%
    • Permanent license revocation
    • One to five years in prison
  • BAC Between 0.10% and 0.16%
    • Permanent license revocation
    • Two to six years in prison
  • BAC Over 0.16%
    • Permanent license revocation
    • Three to seven years in prison

What a Sumter Defense Law Firm in SC Can Do

Working with a Sumter DUI defense lawyer can give you a formidable chance of successfully defending against the DUI charges that you face. Your criminal defense attorney can protect your rights and formulate a defense on your behalf. They can start by conducting a thorough investigation of your case, looking for any evidence that could be useful in your defense.

Before a trial even begins, there may be the possibility of a plea deal. If this makes sense for you, then they can negotiate on your behalf. There are also pre-trial hearings and motions. During this period, your attorney can try to get the case dismissed if there is an argument to do so. They could also challenge the admissibility of certain evidence if there is an issue with it. Sometimes, that alone will be enough for the prosecution to drop the charges.

If the case goes to trial, a DUI attorney can be prepared to make a full defense of your case. They can challenge the prosecution’s evidence and narrative while arguing a proactive defense on your behalf. If the verdict doesn’t go your way, then they can also make the case for a lighter sentence.


Q: What Is Driving With an Unlawful Blood Concentration?

A: Driving with an unlawful blood concentration, or DUAC, is a similar charge to a DUI. However, a DUI requires that there be impairment as a result of the intoxication. A DUAC charge, conversely, requires only that someone has a BAC above the threshold levels, as it is a “per se” violation. While there is this slight technical difference, there isn’t anything substantially different about the two charges. They are used interchangeably with regard to the look-back period and sentencing.

Q: Does Implied Consent Mean That I Have to Take a BAC Test?

A: Normally, taking a BAC test would require a person’s consent. However, if someone is intoxicated and gets pulled over, it’s very unlikely that they would give consent to taking the test.

To address this, South Carolina has created laws that make the state an implied consent state. What this means is that, by making use of the roads at all, you are giving consent to submit to the test upon request from an officer. As a result, refusing a test can result in stiff penalties, and you may not even avoid DUI charges, as the appearance of impairment may be sufficient for a conviction.

Q: How Can You Defend Against DUI Charges?

A: There are several possible means of defending against DUI charges. Many of these defenses will center around the technical process of pulling someone over and administering a DUI test. If an officer fails to follow the proper procedure at any point, that could allow for a defense against the charges.

Another common defensive strategy may be to challenge the effectiveness of the BAC test as a way of getting an accurate BAC. What’s important is that the defense makes sense, given the circumstances of the charges. Your Sumter DUI lawyer can assess the potential methods when planning a strategy for your defense.

Q: Are Open Containers Illegal in South Carolina?

A: Open containers are not legal in South Carolina unless they are in the trunk or storage compartment of the vehicle. To avoid these charges, it’s important that you dispose of any empty containers before driving your vehicle. You must also prevent any passengers from drinking while you drive, as that is still a violation of the open container law.

Getting a Sumter DUI Lawyer May Be the Difference in Your Case

It’s absolutely crucial that you have a strong defense if you hope to avoid a DUI conviction. The penalties for a DUI are often significant and can lead to a lot of challenges. This is especially true for repeat offenders. It’s important to recognize, though, that DUI charges, and even an elevated BAC test, do not necessarily mean a conviction. As with any crime, you will have the opportunity to defend yourself and make a case for why you shouldn’t be found guilty.

There are a variety of potential defenses that can be used against DUI charges. However, it’s important that your defense be appropriate for your case. It’s also critical that your case be made in a way that is persuasive to jurors and makes clear their duty when deliberating on your case.

The strongest case is often one put forth by a Sumter DUI lawyer, like one from Axelrod & Associates. We consider every option in our comprehensive defense of our DUI clients. Contact us today to discuss any DUI charges that you’re facing.


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