South Carolina’s DUI laws are some of the stiffest in the nation.
The penalties have received national attention.
According tothe March 2010 issue of Men’s Health, Columbia, South Carolina ranks 13th on the list of the top 100 “drunkest cities,” a list based on a suite of alcohol-related factors including:
- death rates from alcoholic liver disease,
- drinking-related vehicle crashes,
- frequency of binge-drinking,
- number of DUI arrests, and
- severity of DUI penalties.
In the event that you are pulled for DUI, there are several things that you need to know:
- If you are pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving, and the trooper or officer smells an alcoholic beverage, he or she will ask you if you have had anything to drink.
- You DO NOT have to answer any questions that the officer asks. We recommend that you simply and politely refuse to answer any questions.
- You do not have to take part in any Field Sobriety Test (FST). Most people agree to take a field sobriety test because they believe that they are required to do so by the law. You are not required to take any sort of FST. A FST is one of the best pieces of evidence that Troopers and other law enforcement officers have of impairment, and you should always refuse the FSTs.
- You will most likely be on video beginning the moment you are pulled over. It is essential you are on your best behavior and that you are polite and respectful to the officer. Remember, this video may be shown to a jury or a judge to determine whether or not you are impaired.
- If the officer decides to arrest you for DUI, he or she will handcuff you and place you in his patrol car. More than likely you will also be on video inside the car. Do not answer any questions or make any statements about your case, including how much you have had to drink; be polite and respectful to the officer.
- If you are taken to jail you will be offered a breath test for alcohol concentration. Although you will lose your license from 6 months to 15 months depending upon your prior record if you refuse the breath test, you do not have to take the breath test. Refusing the breath test is likely the best decision.
- Once the breath testing procedure is over, you usually will be booked at the local jail.
- A person can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in South Carolina if an officer has probable cause to show that the individual is operating a motor vehicle while his or her faculties are materially or appreciably impaired.
- With the new DUI law, your penalty will depend in part upon your blood alcohol content.
- Keep in mind that in SC, because of court costs, whatever fine the Court gives you will more than double in the actual amount you will have to pay.
- DUI conviction cannot be expunged or removed from your record.
- Paying the fine means you are guilty of DUI.
- A DUI has long lasting consequences. You should always contact a criminal defense lawyer before proceeding in your case.