If you have been charged with drinking and driving, you will want an experienced attorney to protect your rights. South Carolina takes DUI cases seriously. Not only could you incur fines and penalties, but you could also face the possibility of long-term loss of your driver’s license or jail time. Your insurance rates could increase and you could be prohibited from working in certain occupations.
Attorney Scott Hayes is an experienced and aggressive lawyer that will counsel you after you have been charged with DUI or DWI. We understand the stress and anxiety that can come with a criminal charge. We will take into consideration all matters related to your case, carefully listen to your side of the story in order to prepare and present the best arguments to protect your constitutional rights.
We always adhere to the highest standards of our profession, keeping you fully informed of all new developments in your case and provide you with an honest assessment of your likelihood of success. If you are in need of a DUI attorney in Columbia, give us a call today to schedule a consultation at (803) 373-1498.
DUI Investigation Process
DUI investigations are to be performed in a standardized manner. Scott has the knowledge and experience to hold Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) accountable for any mistakes that are made during the investigation process. These mistakes impact the credibility and reliability of the evidence that LEOs use to establish probable cause for a DUI arrest. Evidence that is not credible or reliable creates reasonable doubt.
There are three phases to a DUI investigation:
PHASE ONE – Vehicle in Motion
LEOs are trained to look for 24 cues as indicators that a driver operating a motor vehicle at night has at least a .08 BAC or higher.
PHASE TWO – Personal Contact
LEOs are also trained to look for additional evidence of impairment. Generally, this evidence consists of things that the officer sees, hears, and smells. Officers also employ divided attention techniques that require the driver to concentrate on two or more things at the same time.
PHASE THREE- Pre-Arrest Screening
LEOs are further trained on how to conduct Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). There are three SFSTs recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These three tests are the Horizontal Nystagmus Gaze, the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand. It is absolutely critical that these tests are conducted in the standardized format recognized by NHSTA to produce reliable and credible evidence.
Once a LEO has concluded Phase Three, the LEO will decide if there is enough evidence to support probable cause to make an arrest for DUI.
If the LEO has decided to make an arrest for DUI, the subject will be transported to a location where he/she will be advised of his/her implied consent rights for breath, urine, and/or blood testing. Any breath, urine, or blood evidence that is collected by the LEO is also subject to strict scrutiny before it can be relied upon. Scott has the knowledge and experience to scrutinize this evidence in every conceivable fashion to test its reliability.
South Carolina has also enacted laws that require DUI investigations to be recorded on video. If a LEO does not comply with the video recording requirements under the law, the underlying DUI arrest could be substantially impacted.
DUI Penalties in South Carolina
Outlined below are the minimum criminal penalties you may face in court for a DUI conviction with a BAC of less than 0.16%**
DUI 1st Offense:
- A fine of $400
- Minimum of 48 hours in jail
- Maximum of up to 30 days in jail
- 48 hours of community service
DUI 2nd Offense:
- A fine of $2,100 to $5,100
- Minimum of 5 days in jail
- Maximum of up to 1 year in jail
DUI 3rd Offense:
- A fine of $3,800 to $6,300
- Minimum of 60 days in jail
- Maximum of up to 3 years in jail
DUI 4th Offense & subsequent offenses:
- A fine determinable by the Court
- Minimum of 1 year in jail
- Maximum of up to 5 years in jail
**If the BAC is over 0.16%, the penalties outlined above will cause higher fines and more jail time.
Are you wondering if you have a case? You can reach our office at (803) 400-2345 or get a free case review by filling out the form below.