If you’ve recently been charged with DUI in Charleston, you’re facing a long and scary process. It isn’t simply a matter of paying a ticket and promising never to do it again. You will be arrested and taken to jail. Odds are, you’ll spend at least one night in jail. By the time your Charleston DUI lawyer shows up, you’ll need to prepare for your first hearing. The judge is going to ask you how you plead.
Now, the answer to this question is going to depend on the facts of your case. If your attorney sees something that they can use to get the charges dismissed, they are going to have you plead not guilty. The only time your attorney would recommend you plead guilty is if you accepted a plea agreement and the court is just waiting for you to confirm your plea in court. This may be due to a weak case on the state’s part, or it could be due to a 4th Amendment violation raised by your Charleston DUI lawyer. Before you worry about pleading guilty or not guilty, you need to call and talk to an experienced attorney in South Carolina.
It’s Difficult to Prove You Weren’t Under the Influence
Regardless of what crime you’ve been charged with, you’re supposed to be presumed innocent. Unfortunately, while this is the law, very rarely is anybody involved in your DUI case truly unbiased. The prosecutor wants to prove you were guilty. So do the police officers who were involved in the stop. Then you have your Charleston DUI lawyer fighting to get the charges dropped. There is no middle ground.
Although the law states the prosecutor must prove you were under the influence, you need to go into court thinking you need to prove you weren’t under the influence. That’s the only way to convince anybody that you weren’t under the influence at the time of your arrest. They could have dashcam or bodycam videos that show you appearing unbalanced and drunk.
Were You Actually Driving at the Time of Your Arrest?
One way your Charleston DUI lawyer can get the charges dismissed is by showing you weren’t driving at the time of the arrest. This is a technicality. Keep in mind, if the police can show that the keys were in the ignition or that you have control of the vehicle, they could still charge you. They may have a video of you driving into the parking lot where they stop you. The good news is that your attorney will know what proof the state has before you go to trial. They’re required to let you see whatever evidence they’ve gathered regarding your case.
Perhaps the Search and Seizure Was Illegal
One of the more common defenses to DUI is that the police conducted an unlawful search and seizure. This would require that your attorney convince the judge that the police didn’t have reasonable suspicion to think you committed a crime. This is very hard to do, and it will be an uphill battle. Let your attorney know everything that happened leading up to the arrest.
They’ll also listen to any audiotape and watch any bodycam videos of the stop. This includes the field sobriety test if you did in fact take one. After looking at all the evidence, your lawyer will have to determine if they think they can get your charges dropped or at least reduced. There’s no way to know until your attorney gets a chance to review the facts.
Call and Talk to One of Our Skilled Charleston DUI Lawyers Today
When people get a speeding ticket or reckless driving citation, they know they have a little time before they’ll need to go to court. A lot of people going to traffic court wait until a few days before their hearing to call a Charleston DUI lawyer. You won’t have that luxury. You’ll have to go to court within a day or two for your first appearance. You’ll be much better off if you have an attorney there by your side.
Being able to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the charges or at least plead it down to a lesser charge is difficult. If you treat any of the police officers with disrespect, there will be an issue. They could be the only thing that stands between you and a prison sentence. This is why it’s important that you call right away and set up a date and time to meet.