So you and some friends decide to get a few drinks one night, you volunteer to drive everyone home, and the next thing you know you are being asked to step out of the vehicle and submit to Field Sobriety Tests by an officer on the side of the road at night, you are then told you have failed said tests, are arrested, and are charged with DUI. You are then taken to a jail where the officer asks you to follow along while he reads you a very technical and very complicated document (the Implied Consent form) and then asks if you are going to provide a breath sample (blowing into the Data Master machine, also commonly known as the breathalyzer machine). You either blow into the machine or refuse, and are then delivered to the jailer where you await a Judge who will either issue a bond or deny bond. This is the how a DUI charge typically begins.
If you or someone you know is in this situation, it is important to understand a few things, right off the bat.
- First, as stated on our website, people from all walks of life are charged with DUI; not just hardened criminals.
- Second, it is important to understand what a DUI or DUAC means, and the potential consequences of being charged or convicted, which can result in a driver’s license suspension, jail time, a fine, mandatory alcohol counseling classes, a permanent criminal record, and many other corollary consequences.
- Third, a DUI has two components, one being the actual criminal charge that can result in jail time or a fine or both, and two, the license suspension component, which can affect your ability to legally drive.
- Fourth, it is crucial to speak with a lawyer who has legitimate DUI defense experience (and in our case here at Anderson, Moore, Bailey & Nowell, DUI Prosecution experience as well….see below ) and not a lawyer who simply claims to “handle DUI’s”. Look into the background and experience of the attorney you are considering. Why? Because a DUI charge can be extremely technical and complex, and hiring a lawyer with inadequate experience, or no experience, can sometimes be the same thing as simply pleading guilty.
Here are some of the basics;
Driving under the influence (DUI) is defined in South Carolina as drinking enough alcohol or taking enough of some other substance (whether it is an illegal substance or a legal substance such as prescription medication) to the point where you are materially and appreciably impaired while operating a motor vehicle.
DUAC (Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration) is defined as driving a motor vehicle while one’s alcohol concentration is .08 or higher. If you blow into the Data Master machine or submit to another test (for example, a blood draw at a hospital) and it is determined your BAC (breath or blood alcohol concentration) is 0.08 percent or higher, you are deemed to be under the influence for purposes of a DUI charge, although you may still be charged even if your BAC is lower than a .08 (which is surprising to most people, but the law allows it based on several factors that are too lengthy to discuss here in this basic article).
If someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of impaired driving, a Felony DUI charge will be used, which is as serious as it gets.
When Should I Call a Lawyer?
Ideally, you should set up an appointment with a lawyer immediately after bonding out of the jail, OR if bond is denied, call and see if the lawyer will make a jail visit. We are at the jail regularly. Sitting down and chatting with an experienced DUI defense attorney is the first and most important step you can make after the arrest. Obviously, we believe you should call our law office, because we are in a unique position to try and help folks who are charged with a DUI or DUAC. Why?
Because we have the experience to help you with former Spartanburg DUI prosecutor Patrick Anderson, who is one of the partners here at Anderson, Moore, Bailey & Nowell. You can read his full bio here.
We do not charge anything for a consultation, and everything is always confidential. To put it another way, you have nothing to lose by setting up an appointment with us. Call us today at 1-888-234-2483 or 864-641-6435.
This blog is intended for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for talking to a lawyer. In fact, the first step you can take towards resolving your problem is to have a face to face conversation with one of our lawyers. Our consultations are free, they are confidential, and we can almost always schedule you an appointment the same day we receive a call.