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You could contact an experienced and qualified Charleston DUI attorney immediately.
There are a great many moving parts involved in defending a DUI charge, many of which will not be obvious or apparent to a layperson. Time is of the essence, and you stand to gain nothing by waiting. Hiring a lawyer is not fun, but being convicted of a DUI is less fun.
You are deemed to have consented to a Breathalyzer test by driving on the roads in this state. By withdrawing that consent, you are subject to an automatic six month suspension, which begins immediately (you are subject to the same suspension for blowing a .15 or greater).
You have 30 days from the date of your arrest to request an administrative hearing, the purpose of which is to challenge probable cause for your DUI arrest. If you miss this deadline, or you are not successful in your challenge, you will be required to enroll in ADSAP before returning to the roads.
Even if your suspension is upheld, you can receive a "route-restricted license" that will allow you to drive to work, school, etc. during your suspension.
Our DUI attorneys are available to assist both in challenging the suspension and in garnering the route-restricted license.
All is not lost.
The tests you underwent are subject to very strict administrative guidelines. Our divorce attorneys have undergone training on these guidelines, and how to spot mistakes in the way the tests were performed.
Don't think of this as "lawyer's tricks" or "technicalities." The field sobriety tests produce very specific false positives when not performed in the prescribed manner.
Our DUI attorneys will request and receive a full video of the stop, tests, and arrest, and will go to work determining what, if any, errors were made in this process. This examination will be absolutely pivotal to your defense.
For a first conviction, a driver faces a minimum 48 hour sentence (which may be served by public service or on work release). For a second offense, the minimum sentence is 30 days, for a third offense it is 60 days, and for a fourth and beyond it becomes a year.
The driver also faces a license suspension, again graduated for repeat offenders, ranging from 6 months for a first offense to 3 years for a fourth offense. Habitual offender laws may also apply.
In addition, the driver will be required to enroll in ADSAP and purchase SR-22 insurance. These requirements will add greatly to the financial consequences of a conviction.
A conviction for DUI requires that a judge or jury find that you were "materially and appreciably impaired" while operating a vehicle. This can be proved with or without a Breathalyzer result in South Carolina. The element of impairment is central to the conviction.A DUAC (driving with unlawful alcohol concentration) conviction does not require the element of impairment. It requires simply a Breathalyzer reading of .08% or higher.
The big difference? A DUI is a criminal offense, a DUAC is a moving violation. One goes on your criminal record, the other on your driving record. Otherwise, the penalties are exactly the same.
You've been charged with a felony DUI.
The penalties for this offense vary, from 30 days to 15 years for "great bodily injury," to 1-25 years for death.
You need to consult with an attorney immediately.
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