DUI in South Carolina is a serious offense with serious penalties. It is important for you to know what to do if stopped by an officer for driving under the influence. Below is a list of 5 mistakes NOT to make if you are pulled over for driving under the influence.
- Do not answer any questions about how much you have had to drink. You should not be rude, but simply state that you prefer not to answer the question or state that you would prefer to talk to an attorney first.
- Do not take a field sobriety test. Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)are notoriously bad indicators of intoxication. Judging FSTs is a highly subjective process, which has led to countless false DUI accusations. A motorist has the right to refuse participation in roadside sobriety tests. Declining to take a roadside test does not carry the same consequences as refusing to take a breathalyzer, though the motorist may be arrested on suspicion of DUI for refusing an FST. That is the police officer’s discretion. Motorists make the mistake of participating in the Field Sobriety Tests though which then helps give the officer probable cause to arrest him or her for DUI and can lead to a breathalyzer test. Remember the officer must prove the driver was under the influence of alcohol. Though a driver may suffer some consequences, it is less damaging then providing the officer with admissible evidence to use in court to prove DUI.
- Do not take a breathalyzer test.Results of handheld breathalyzer tests may be used to establish probable cause or reasonable suspicion of drunk driving. This allows a police officer to make an initial arrest and bring you in for an admissible breath test or blood test. Results from the BAC Datamaster, a desktop breath testing device, are admissible as evidence in a driving under the influence charge if proper protocol for administering a breath test was followed, and you were advised of your breathalyzer rights and the law of implied consent.
- If you are charged for DUI, do not pay the fine. Pleading guilty for a first offense DUI in South Carolina can haunt you for life. A DUI on your record will never go away or be expunged—it will forever stick with you. You will automatically lose your license for six months, and you will have to purchase SR-22 insurance for the next three years, which can add an additional $300-$600 on your car insurance premium. By paying the fine, you automatically plead guilty to first offense DUI.
- Do not represent yourself in court. Many individuals make the mistake of representing themselves in court against an experienced prosecutor. As previously stated, First Offense DUI is a serious offense and should be treated that way. There are many consequences at stake if you decide to represent yourself. If you have been arrested or charged with DUI, contact, or have a friend or family member contact, a competent DUI attorney in your area; Do NOT wait until the last minute to contact an attorney.
Founded by a former U.S. Attorney, the team at Strom Law Firm, LLC also includes a former Public Defender, and a former Assistant Attorney General and Richland County Assistant Solicitor. It’s awarded the highest Martindale-Hubble ranking and collectively holds more than 50 years of complex litigation experience. Our DUI defense attorneys will evaluate your case at no charge.