All DUI cases are serious, but especially the ones that result in an accident. If you were behind the wheel at the time of the crash, here’s what you need to do and the potential outcomes you are facing.
DUI Accidents in South Carolina
First, you must know what the effects of the accident are. In other words, did the accident cause property damage? Was someone injured? Was someone killed? Each of these scenarios will lead to different potential outcomes.
If you caused a DUI accident that led to property damage, this is the least severe type of accident. The penalties for a DUI accident causing property damage will typically be similar to those for a standard DUI.
- Driver’s license suspension
- Up to 30 days in jail
One difference between a standard DUI and a DUI causing property damage is the potential for a civil lawsuit or punitive damages. This means you will likely be required to pay for the property damage repairs and potentially a bit extra as further punishment.
If you caused a DUI accident that led to someone suffering an injury, the case becomes much more complex.
This is a felony offense, punishable by:
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Up to $10,100 in fines
- License suspension
- Mandatory ignition interlock device use
If the accident caused more than one person to be severely injured, these penalties could double. This means up to 30 years in prison.
The most severe type of case is if the DUI accident resulted in someone’s death. The potential sentence increases to up to 25 years in prison and up to $25,100 in fines. You may also be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
Can These Charges Be Reduced?
It is possible for your charges to be reduced. A significant factor will be the severity of the injury the victim suffered. If the victim sustained relatively minor injuries, it may be possible to have your felony DUI with injury charge reduced to a misdemeanor.
This is extremely beneficial for multiple reasons:
- The potential penalties for a misdemeanor decrease significantly (both the possible jail sentence and the cost of fines).
- A felony on your record can result in losing rights such as voting and firearm rights.
- The consequences of a felony can be lifelong and more intrusive than those of a misdemeanor.
Leaving The Scene
Even if it only caused property damage, leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor offense. Therefore, you should always remain at the scene and call the police. Otherwise, you will find yourself in additional legal trouble.
Taking Action After a DUI Accident
No matter the circumstances of the accident, you must take action after your DUI arrest. The first thing you should do is contact a criminal defense attorney. Working with a criminal defense attorney gives you the best chance of having your case dropped, charges reduced, or other positive outcomes.
DUI defense attorneys have extensive knowledge of DUI science and laws. Joe Good, Attorney at Law focuses his practice solely on DUI, so you can trust that he has the knowledge and experience needed to get you the best possible result.
You should also take as many notes as you can after an accident. Write down a timeline of your night leading to the accident and any details you can remember about the crash itself. Through this, it may be discovered that you did not cause the accident at all. Instead, the injured driver may have actually been at-fault. This can significantly help your criminal and civil case.
One thing is certain: you do not want to delay working on your DUI defense.
South Carolina DUI Accident Defense
Dealing with the aftermath of a DUI accident can be overwhelming. Luckily, Joe Good, Attorney at Law is here to help. He can work with you to build the strongest defense possible, even for the most complicated cases. Call today at 843-412-1401 or click here to request a case consultation.