Bluffton DUI Defense Lawyers
Defense Against DUI Charges in Hilton Head & Surrounding Areas
Being convicted of driving under the influence can lead to you losing your driver’s license, being on the hook for thousands in fines, and spending months or even years in jail. When you face charges for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with unlawful alcohol content (DUAC), you need qualified and experienced legal representation.
Our Bluffton DUI lawyers at Horton & Associates, LLC are prepared to do everything possible to defend your rights and protect you from the worst consequences of these serious charges. We are extremely familiar with how the state of South Carolina adjudicates DUI cases and can leverage our knowledge to benefit you. Proudly serving Bluffton, Hilton Head, & surrounding areas.
Arrested for DUI? Call (843) 420-1344 or contact us online to request an initial consultation with our Bluffton DUI attorney today!
What Should You Do After Being Pulled Over?
Getting pulled over is never a pleasant experience, but it can be especially stressful if an officer believes that you have been driving under the influence. It is important that you comply with law enforcement requests and avoid any behavior that could be interpreted as noncooperative or belligerent. Failure to act appropriately during a traffic stop can lead to additional charges and limit your defense options.
South Carolina enforces an “implied consent law” that influences your ability to refuse sobriety tests. When you obtain a driver’s license in the state, you tacitly agree to submit to chemical tests if a police officer believes that you may be driving under the influence. While you still have a right to decline a test, doing so will result in an automatic fine and license suspension of 6 months for a first offense.
If you know that you have been driving under the influence, refusing a chemical test and accepting the associated penalties may be the best legal option. You have a right to legal representation: Call our team to get immediate guidance on whether to take a sobriety test during a traffic stop.
What are the Penalties for a DUI Conviction in South Carolina?
The penalties that you might face for a DUI conviction will depend on your blood alcohol content (BAC) and the number of previous convictions. The higher your BAC, the harsher the penalties.
For a first time conviction of DUI, you could receive substantial penalties, but repeat offenders will likely experience little to no leniency and subsequently face stiffer punishments. First, second, and third offenses will typically be tried as misdemeanors. A fourth offense is considered a felony.
Consequences for DUI convictions in South Carolina include:
- First Offense: Up to $1,000 in fines or 30 to 90 days of jail time, plus a 6-month license suspension
- Second Offense: Up to $6,500 in fines and up to 3 years of jail time, plus a 1-year license suspension
- Third Offense: Up to $10,000 in fines and up to 5 years of jail time, plus a 2-year license suspension
- Fourth Offense: Up to 7 years of jail time, plus a permanent license revocation
Courts also do not typically consider convictions that are over 10 years old when contemplating new charges and penalties. In other words, if you were convicted of a DUI-related offense 15 years ago and were recently arrested for a new DUI-related offense, you would be charged as if you were a first-time offender.
Is It Worth Getting an Attorney for a DUI in South Carolina?
When someone is arrested for driving under the influence, they may wonder if it is worth getting an attorney. The answer depends on the situation. If this is the first time someone has been arrested for DUI, they may be able to get away with just a fine. However, if someone has been arrested multiple times or if there was an accident involved, they may be facing jail time. In these cases, it is worth getting an attorney to help reduce the sentence. An attorney can also help to negotiate a plea deal or get charges dropped entirely. As a result, anyone who is facing DUI charges should consult with an attorney to see if it is worth getting one.
In What Ways Can a DUI Lawyer Help My Case?
A Bluffton DUI lawyer can help your case in several ways.
- First, he or she can investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest to look for any possible defenses. For example, if the police did not have probable cause to pull you over, any evidence they obtained as a result of the stop may not be admissible in court.
- Second, a DUI lawyer can challenge the prosecution's evidence against you. For instance, if the results of your blood alcohol test are inaccurate or if the police failed to follow proper procedure when administering the test, your lawyer may be able to get those results thrown out.
- Finally, a DUI lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to try to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether. If you are facing DUI charges, hiring an experienced lawyer is always in your best interests.
How We Can Help You Fight DUI Charges
Many DUI cases rely on 2 key pieces of evidence: the arresting officer’s testimony and the results of the sobriety test. Our Bluffton DUI attorneys can often challenge the veracity of both of these elements.
In cases relying on testimony, we can cross-examine the arresting officer and question the reliability and accuracy of their statement. Police officers are also required to follow very specific procedures when making a DUI arrest in South Carolina. When officers fail to honor your rights, they weaken the prosecution’s case.
Many sobriety tests have been the subject of debate, and their accuracy has been historically questioned. We can argue that chemical tests that you were subjected to are unreliable and should therefore not be considered.
Our Bluffton DUI lawyers at Horton & Associates, LLC has over 25 years of combined legal experience and will do whatever it takes to secure a favorable outcome in your case. Whether you are a first-time offender or have been convicted for DUI-related offenses before, our firm has the knowledge, tools, and resources to provide the aggressive defense that you will need.
If you are facing charges for drunk driving, put over 2 decades of legal excellence on your side. Contact us online or call (843) 420-1344 to discuss your defense today!