We understand that time is of the essence when you have been charged with a criminal offense.

"In our current practice, we strive to provide our clients with excellent legal services tailored to their individual situation for any DUI defense case."

I graduated from Winthrop University where I was a starting pitcher for the top 25 ranked Eagles. After graduation, I worked in the Netherlands and Germany for a plastics manufacturing company, where my focus was on lean manufacturing processes. After leaving the Netherlands I attended Charleston School of Law. While in school I served as President of the Federalist Society and was active with the Trial Advocacy Team. I also completed over one thousand hours of pro bono legal work at the Charleston County Public Defender’s office. Immediately after I graduated and passed the South Carolina Bar I Joined my good friend and colleague Bill Thrower, Esq., to form the law firm Thrower & Schwartz Law Firm. After Bill’s untimely passing, I started Schwartz Law Firm, LLC. I have extensive experience as a trial attorney and have tried over two dozen jury trials, including murders, rapes, robberies and drug trafficking as well as numerous family law and civil trials. I understand that having a legal issue, be it criminal, family or civil, can be the most stressful time of your life and I strive to give each client a personalized touch while I guide you through the legal process. As an aggressive litigator and negotiator, I am unwavering in my commitment to providing my clients with “personal attention, informed legal advice and excellent case outcomes.”

Charleston, SC DUI Attorney

If you have been arrested for a Charleston DUI, chances are you were shocked, embarrassed, overwhelmed, anxiety-ridden and totally stressed out. The consequences of a Charleston DUI conviction are both severe and far-reaching. They can affect your personal relationships, your career opportunities, and may even affect your divorce or child custody hearings. Even one DUI can have far reaching negative consequences that can last a lifetime.

Many people make the decision to simply plead guilty—particularly if this is their first DUI arrest—because they believe it will make the entire thing go away more quickly. Unfortunately, this is simply NOT TRUE. When you plead guilty to DUI charges, you have set in motion consequences which cannot be reversed. Some of these consequences include:

  • Time spent behind bars;
  • Extremely high fines and fees;
  • The loss of your driver’s license for a specific amount of time;
  • Potentially having an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle;
  • The potential loss of your job, or an inability to find employment;
  • Insurance premiums which become so high as to be unaffordable in some cases;
  • An inability to secure a government college loan or to join the military, and
  • A permanent blot on your criminal record.

It is virtually always a better idea to fight your DUI charges. In some cases, you may find your DUI charges dismissed completely because of lack of evidence or police mistakes. At the very least, your Charleston DUI defense attorney may be able to have your charges reduced or to get you into a diversionary program as an alternative to jail. Remember these two important facts:

The most important thing you can do to lessen the negative consequences of your DUI charges is to speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Remember, the prosecution is required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If the state is unable to prove an element of your DUI offense, or if the police officer improperly conducted your stop, your field sobriety tests, or your chemical tests, then it could be difficult to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

A failed field sobriety test or chemical test does not automatically mean you cannot win your DUI case.

The state of South Carolina has fairly harsh DUI costs and penalties, as well as strict DUI laws. As such, it is advisable never to plead guilty to DUI charges before you have consulted a skilled Charleston DUI defense attorney who can thoroughly examine the details of your DUI arrest. You may have some preconceived notions regarding your DUI charges which can harm you in the long run. Some of the most common “myths” about DUI include:

If you tested under 0.08 percent BAC, you are safe from prosecution. This could be the most common DUI myth—you can be charged and convicted of a DUI with a BAC less than the legal limit if the State can definitively prove your ability to drive was impaired by the alcohol you consumed.If 

Driving under the influence of prescription drugs is not a crime. Again, if the state can show your ability to drive was impaired by the prescription drugs you were taking, you could be charged with a DUI.

If you cooperate fully with the officer and “pass” the field sobriety tests you will be allowed to go home. Rarely true. There is a reason the Miranda warning advises you that you have the right to remain silent. The biggest obstacle many DUI attorneys must overcome is the evidence freely given to the officer by their client—then taken out of context and used against the client.

You have to be driving to be charged with DUI. Again, not necessarily true. If you were so intoxicated that you pulled off the road and decided to sleep it off for safety’s sake, you could still find yourself being charged with DUI—especially if you left the keys in the ignition. The theory behind this is that you were still in control of the vehicle even though you were sound asleep. Perhaps you could have woken up, still in your impaired state, and driven off. One court upheld a DUI conviction where the woman was asleep in her car, the car was hopelessly mired in mud, and she had two blown tires. Unfortunately, her keys were in the ignition, and the court believed she could have driven if she chose to.

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Penalties for a First-Time DUI in the State of South Carolina

Anyone convicted of a DUI in South Carolina, whether it is a first offense or subsequent conviction, faces some amount of jail time. First offenders have a minimum sentence of 48 hours up to a maximum of 90 days in jail. The penalty for a second offense ranges from a minimum of five days to three years. Third and subsequent offenses carry jail terms ranging from 60 days to five years. As you can see, penalties for DUI in South Carolina are quite harsh – another reason it is highly recommended to consult with a DUI lawyer in Charleston as soon as possible.

For a first offender who tests above the legal limit, but blows below a critical value of 0.15, you may be able to serve your time, pay your fine, and go about your life. However, those who are second offenders or those who blow 0.15 or higher on a breathalyzer will need to install a mandatory ignition interlock device for a period of no less than six months. This is a relatively recent addition to South Carolina DUI law, known as Emma’s Law, after Emma Longstreet, a six-year-old girl, was killed by a drunk driver.

If you refuse a chemical test in the state of South Carolina, you will face an automatic six month license suspension.

If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with DUI in Charleston or anywhere in the State of South Carolina, it important to discuss your case with an experienced Charleston DUI defense lawyer immediately.