Felony DUI Charge Leads to 6-Year Sentence After Defendant Pleads Guilty
A woman from Hanahan, SC was charged with one count of felony DUI last year after her drunk driving caused her to crash her car and kill a man.
Lisa Victoria Pistolis, 26, pleaded guilty to the felony DUI charge on Tuesday, May 27th, in a Charleston courtroom. The judge sentenced Pistolis to six years in prison, then suspended the sentence to 4 years, 8 months. She was given credit for the 81 days that she has served in jail so far.
On the afternoon of January 27th, 2013, police responded to a vehicle accident in Charleston County. Reportedly, Pistolis’s vehicle drifted off the roadway and into the median; when she attempted to get her car back on the correct side of the road, she collided with a Jeep driven by victim Serjei Matias Cahuantzi, 35 years old from Charleston.
Both vehicles spun out of control and the Jeep flipped several times. The passengers in the Jeep, as well as Pistolis herself, were taken to MUSC for treatment. Cahuantzi’s passengers suffered serious internal and skeletal injuries.
Authorities say that at the time of the accident, Pistolis was awaiting trial for another DUI accident. At the scene, her blood alcohol content was reportedly twice the legal limit, which is 0.08.
South Carolina Felony DUI Law
A person will be charged with a felony for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, if while operating the vehicle under the influence, the person causes “great bodily injury” or death to a person other than himself including a passenger, pedestrian, another driver.
Upon conviction of a felony DUI by jury, the accused faces a minimum mandatory prison sentence and fine. A DUI conviction that includes a felony conviction for causing the death of another includes a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 1 year in prison with a maximum 25 years imprisonment, and a minimum mandatory fine of not less than $10,100 nor more than $25,100. Additionally, the convicted person’s driver’s license is suspensed for the term of imprisonment plus five years.
A felony DUI conviction for causing great bodily injury includes a mandatory minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 15 years imprisonment, plus a mandatory fine of at least $5,000, not to exceed $10,100. Also, the DMV must suspend the convicted person’s driver’s license for the term of imprisonment plus three years.
A part of the mandatory sentences required to be imposed under the felony DUI law must not be suspended, and probation must not be granted for any portion.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Felony DUI Charges in South Carolina
Based in Columbia, SC, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm collectively have over 30 years of experience with South Carolina law. The firm was founded in 1996 by former US Attorney and Assistant Solicitor Pete Strom. If you face felony DUI charges in South Carolina, we can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Do not let DUI or felony DUI charges prevent you from pursuing opportunities. Contact us today. 803.252.4800.