Bluffton DUI Defense Attorneys
Defense Against DUI Charges in Hilton Head & SC
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 defense lawyers at Horton & Goodman, 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.
What To 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.
DUI Penalties 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. First-time convictions will result in substantial penalties, but repeat offenders will likely experience little to no leniency and subsequently face stiffer punishments.
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
First, second, and third offenses will typically be tried as misdemeanors. A fourth offense is considered a felony. 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.
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 defense 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 team at Horton & Goodman, 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.