Having any sort of trouble with the police about DUI in Charleston is a huge burden and can cause life-changing problems to you and your family and needs your immediate attention. It doesn’t matter what you were feeling at the time of your arrest. Maybe you feel like you weren’t impaired at all. Staring at a potential arrest warrant and having your whole life turned upside down can make you go through several emotions and trauma.
But this is not the time for you to give up. Instead, you need to hire a Charleston DUI lawyer that is well versed in South Carolina DUI laws to represent and help you get back to your feet.
South Carolina’s Stated Difference Between DUI And DWI
The term DWI – Driving While Intoxicated was at one time accepted across the United States to book people that were alcoholic when they were driving. After a while, people would also be under the influence of potent drugs, and those were thought to impair people while driving. Hence, the old term DWI was then changed to DUI – Driving Under Influence to charge people that are impaired by any of these drugs.
South Carolina’s Definition of Being “In Control” of Your Vehicle
Many states, South Carolina included, don’t make it necessary for you to be driving your vehicle while you’re under the influence. That’s right. Even if you are parked somewhere safe and are just sleeping it off, the police can still charge you and arrest you. If you are with your vehicle and in possession of your keys, you can be deemed “in control” of your vehicle and consequently be charged with a DUI.
Penalties You Can Face For Being Convicted Under a DUI in Charleston
Being part of the state of South Carolina, Charleston has harsh punishments for being charged under a DUI. Regardless if it is your first or any of your subsequent convictions, you are bound to face some amount of jail time. First offenders can be charged anywhere between 48 hours and 90 days of jail time.
For the second offense, you can be charged a minimum of five days to a maximum of three years. The third and subsequent convictions result in you serving 60 days to five years in prison. Moreover, you will also face a severe fine that only multiply with each additional offense. First, timmers can pay anywhere between $400 to $1000, and third-time offenders, along with all subsequent convictions, will have to shell out a maximum of $10,000 as fines.
If all this wasn’t enough, your license can be suspended for at least six months to a maximum of 2 years and permanently if you are convicted a fourth time.
For first-time offenders that score less than the critical limit of 0.15, you can simply serve your time, pay your fine and go about your life. However, if your breath analyzer shows more than 0.15 or it’s your second or subsequent conviction, you would have to have to install an ignition interlock device for six months. This is under the new Emma’s law after a DUI killed a 6-year-old girl.
Additional Consequences of Being Charged With a DUI
While fines and jail terms are one thing, there are several other freedoms that you will lose because of that. You could lose your right to buy any firearms, or lose your passport, or will no longer be allowed to work with children. Obtaining employment too becomes difficult, and if you’re a student, you will not be granted a government student loan.
Your insurance premium can shoot up to unaffordable rates, or you can be entirely dropped by your insurer and make it hard to find another insurer.
Potential Defences Against DUI
There are several defenses you can make to have your charge overturned. Perhaps the issue of you being “in control” of your vehicle can be debated. Or the officer may not have the legal jurisdiction to stop you. Or the breath analyzer could be argued to be faulty or any one of the numerous counter-arguments a proper DUI defense lawyer could give you.
How to Get Your License Reinstated
You would need to visit your local DMV and pay a $130 fee to reinstate your license. In addition, if it is your second conviction, you would have to have an interlocking ignition device installed on any vehicle that you use regularly.
That said, if you are looking for a lawyer who can help you with Charleston DUI law, we are here to help you out. Contact us today to learn more.