Drunk Driving Lawyer Charleston, SC
The majority of drivers in South Carolina are responsible people who understand that driving drunk is not only against the law but is also very dangerous. If they go out, they may have one or two glasses of wine or other alcoholic beverages and are aware of when to stop because they will be driving. There may be an occasion, however, that the driver doesn’t realize that maybe they had one glass too many until they get behind the wheel of their vehicle. At that point, understanding they should not be driving, they pull over to a safe place to sleep until the alcohol wears off. But can they still be arrested for drunk driving if a police officer should knock on their vehicle window? As a drunk driving lawyer in Charleston, SC can explain, in some cases, yes they can.
Drunk driving is a serious offense that can result in large fines and jail time. It is one of the most common criminal charges that people face. You should not take drunk driving charges lightly, because you can face consequences that can impact you for a long time. Luckily, a DUI lawyer can help you. Regardless of whether you are a first-time offender or if you have had multiple convictions already, a lawyer can defend you against the charge so that you do not suffer the worst consequences.
Drunk Driving Laws
Every state has laws against drunk driving. The legal limit of alcohol differs from state to state, with some states having more strict limits than others. You should be aware of these laws and how they apply to your case. These laws basically say that it is illegal to be in control of a vehicle if you have more than the legal limit of alcohol in your system. In situations where a driver is arrested and charged with DUI after they pulled over and parked the vehicle, if the court determines that the driver was still in physical control of the vehicle, the driver could be found guilty of drunk driving. The key to defending against these charges is defining what physical control of the vehicle actually means.
In some cases, the driver does not have to be moving the vehicle or even intend to move the vehicle in order for the law to say they had physical control. Not many people know about this detail in the law. A skilled Charleston drunk driving lawyer knows that some of the key factors that will make this determination include:
- Whether the driver had the ignition key for the vehicle
- Whether the driver was physically capable of operating the vehicle
- Whether the driver was sitting in the driver’s seat
There are other factors the court may look at, as well, in order to determine if the driver did have physical control of the vehicle and was, in fact, driving under the influence of alcohol.
By hiring a drunk driving lawyer, they can help you learn more about the nuances of drunk driving laws so that you can have a stronger defense. Understanding these details can make a major difference in the outcome of your case.
When Can Police Charge You With DUI?
You could be charged with DUI if a police officer has reason to suspect that you are driving under the influence, such as if they believe that you have no control operating a vehicle because you are under the influence of alcohol. They can make this decision based on your behavior, such as if you are driving erratically or are driving faster than the speed limit. They can also come to this conclusion after interpreting your results from the breathalyzer or your performance during a field sobriety test. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is higher than the legal limit, you could be charged.
So How Does a Driver Avoid a DUI Charge?
If you have been drinking, then you should avoid sitting in your vehicle at all. There are many types of transportation options that you can use if you have been drinking. Consider taking a taxi, ride-sharing vehicle, or walking home if there are no sober drivers around who can drive you home. If you have no other option but to sleep in your vehicle, there are steps you can take to show you did not have physical control of the vehicle, such as putting the car key in the glove compartment and sit in the back seat of the vehicle.
Drinking and driving is never worth the risk. Preventing a DUI charge is largely in your control because you can make the decision to not drive while under the influence.
If you believe that you have been wrongly charged with DUI, you can rely on a lawyer for help for that scenario as well. Charges can be flawed, so they may not hold up under legal scrutiny. They will review the charge and determine the best way to fight it. The police officer may have made a mistake or did not administer the tests correctly when they pulled you over. Discuss your DUI charge with a trusted lawyer who has experience defending clients against similar charges.
What You Should Do At a DUI Checkpoint
If you are at a DUI checkpoint, knowing key information can help you protect your rights. Follow the police officer’s instructions carefully. If they ask you about your records such as insurance information, be prepared to provide it to them. Remain calm and talk to the officer respectfully to avoid escalating the incident. Answer their questions when you can and keep your statements brief. You should not give away too much information that may be used against you. Follow these tips so that you can successfully navigate a DUI stop.
Contact a DUI Defense Law Firm
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, call Joe Good, Attorney at Law to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a dedicated Charleston drunk driving lawyer. Do not delay. The sooner we can start building your defense, the better your chances are of a more positive outcome.
Benefits of Hiring a Drunk Driving Lawyer
If you have recently been charged with a DUI, one of the next things you should do is discuss your case with a drunk driving lawyer. A DUI charge is a serious matter, so it is important to have someone knowledgeable and experienced on your side. Here are some benefits of hiring a drunk driving lawyer.
- Identify possible defenses. Just because you were charged with a DUI, does not mean that you will be convicted. If you have a viable defense, you may be able to get your charges dropped. An experienced drunk driving lawyer can investigate the unique circumstances of your case and identify possible defenses. For instance, if the police officer did not have a legal reason to stop your vehicle in the first place, your case could get thrown out.
- Have a relationship with the prosecution. Experienced DUI lawyers often have good relationships with the prosecution. This can definitely work in your favor. If your lawyer has a good working relationship with the prosecutor, he or she may be able to negotiate a favorable deal. For example, if this is the first time you have been arrested and no one was hurt, your lawyer may be able to negotiate probation instead of jail time.
- Help you get your driver’s license back. After you get arrested for drunk driving, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended. This can be problematic if you live in an area without public transportation. You will have to rely on friends and family to give you rides to work and other important places. This is another important reason to have an experienced DUI lawyer on your side. He or she will fight hard to get your driver’s license returned to you.
- Save money. At first, you may be hesitant to hire a DUI lawyer because you’re afraid you can’t afford the legal fees. However, you may be pleased to learn that a skilled lawyer may help you save more money in the long run. A lawyer can help you handle your case efficiently and spend less time in court, which can ultimately save you money.
- Provide peace of mind. Facing a DUI charge can be nerve-wracking and scary. However, if you know you have an experienced lawyer advocating for you, it can provide some peace of mind.
BENEFITS OF HIRING A DRUNK DRIVING LAWYER INFOGRAPHIC
FAQ: Answering Questions Related to Drunk Driving Charges
Drunk driving can be both dangerous and come with steep consequences, and because of this, having a drunk driving lawyer, Charleston, SC recommends, will be critical to achieving the best possible outcome after obtaining a DUI charge. It’s essential to make alternative plans if you plan to be drinking; however, at times, a person may not realize that they have consumed too much alcohol to operate a motor vehicle legally. The flash of blue police lights in the rearview mirror is enough to send anyone into a tailspin, especially after consuming alcohol. If you were pulled over and received a DUI charge; as a result, legal representation from a firm like Joe Good, Attorney at Law, will be the best place to start when it comes to fighting the charges against you. Not only can we help strategize the case and navigate the legal system, but we can also answer the several case questions you will have.
What will a law enforcement officer look for when I am pulled over?
Law enforcement officers are specially trained to identify signs that a person is driving under the influence. When on the road, police will look for signs of erratic driving, such as swerving, speeding, crossing lanes, coming close to hitting other vehicles, etc. Our Charleston drunk driving lawyer can share that, due to this behavior, a law enforcement officer will likely pull the driver over for a traffic stop. During a traffic stop, police will engage with you to look for signs that you are under the influence. They will observe whether you have slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and odors to determine whether they will conduct a series of field sobriety tests.
What steps should be considered if I am pulled over under the suspicion of drunk driving?
When you are pulled over, the officer will ask for your name, license, insurance, and registration. They may ask you a series of questions as well. Remember that you do not have to answer any of their questions. The only thing you are required to do is provide them with your identifying information. Be polite and make no sudden movements, but know that you do not have to engage in field sobriety tests. Make sure you do not say or do anything that could further incriminate yourself.
Will there be consequences if I refuse the breathalyzer at the scene?
It’s a common misconception that it’s in your best interest to refuse the breathalyzer. Under South Carolina law, those who refuse will automatically have their license suspended. Although refusing to submit to testing will mean that the prosecution may lack the evidence to prosecute, you could still be looking at consequences in addition to license loss, such as mandatory programs and extensive fines.
How soon after a DUI charge will I lose my license?
Typically when a person is convicted of a DUI for the first time, they will lose their license for six months. You will automatically lose your license if you have a BAC above the legal limit. However, it’s possible to retain the license by requesting an administrative hearing within 30 days of suspension. It may be possible to still keep a provisional license with help from a Charleston drunk driving lawyer.
What are some of the unintended consequences of a DUI conviction?
In addition to the likely penalties such as license suspension, fines, and alcohol programming, those convicted of DUIs stand to face other unintended consequences. Not only will a DUI conviction remain on your record, but it can also be challenging to retain employment, and insurance premiums may skyrocket. In addition, no one wants the embarrassment of friends, family, and the community finding out about the DUI.
For legal representation, you can rely on during a time that can be incredibly stressful, schedule a consultation with Joe Good, Attorney at Law today!