South Carolina DUI Frequently Asked Questions

What does driving under the influence mean?

In South Carolina it is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this state while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, a combination of drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired. If you are charged with DUI anywhere in South Carolina, the State must prove all the elements against you beyond a reasonable doubt.

What evidence is used to convict someone of DUI?

In DUI cases, the police officers gather several types of evidence during their investigation. This evidence includes but is not limited to: driver’s conduct, driving infractions, results of any field sobriety tests, breath, blood, and urine samples, and a driver’s own statements.

Do I have the right to remain silent?

If a driver is pulled over on suspicion for DUI, the driver has the right to remain silent. The driver must provide her driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. A driver must also step out of the vehicle if requested by the officer. It always helps to be courteous to the officer, but you are under no obligation to answer any question that may hurt your case. Remember, YOU ARE INNOCENT until the government can prove BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that you are in fact guilty.

Is it better to take a breathalyzer test or not?

As a DUI defense attorney, I am asked this question all the time. It is your choice on whether or not to provide a breath sample. The officer administering the breath test to you should inform you that you have this choice. If you refuse to provide a sample, your license will be suspended for six months. You have a right to appeal that suspension. However, you must submit your request for an appeal within thirty days of your arrest. Once you request has been received by the Department of Motor Vehicles, you can apply for a temporary license so that you can get around town. If you do not appeal your suspension or the suspension is upheld during the appeal, you will be required to complete the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (“ADSAP”) before your license can be re-instated. ADSAP can be expensive and very time consuming. License suspensions can and do get dismissed during the appeals process. My office handles the license suspension and the criminal case for clients. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your DUI case and possible license suspension in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties.

Do I have the right to refuse performing field sobriety tests?

Yes. You have the right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests.

What does the term “legal limit” mean?

In South Carolina there law allows for a presumption that a person’s faculties were materially and appreciably impaired if the driver provides a blood or breath sample and the reading is above a .08. Providing a sample above .08 does not mean you are automatically guilty of DUI. Read more about the term “legal limit”.

What kind of court handles DUI cases?

First offense DUI cases are handled in summary courts. Summary courts can be county magistrates or municipal courts in cities and towns. People charged with a first offense DUI are often given a blue traffic ticket that looks very similar to a ticket for a minor traffic violation. Even though a DUI is handled on a blue traffic ticket, it is still important to consult with an experienced DUI attorney about the potential consequences of a DUI conviction. My firm handles first offense DUI cases in Berkeley County, Charleston County, and Dorchester County magistrate courts. My firm handles first offense DUI cases in the municipal courts for Mount Pleasant, Charleston, North Charleston, Folly Beach, James Island, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Goose Creek, Summerville, and any other city, county, or town in South Carolina.

If you are charged with DUI second or subsequent offense or felony DUI, your case will be handled in general sessions court at a county courthouse. The courthouse and solicitor’s office handling your case will depend on which county you were arrested for DUI. I handle DUI cases in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester, and all other counties in South Carolina.

Is it important to get a lawyer quickly in a DUI case?

Yes, if you are facing an administrative suspension, you only have thirty days to contest that suspension. The sooner I am involved in your defense, the sooner we can begin preparing a defense.

What can happen to you if you are convicted of DUI?

A DUI conviction can have potentially life altering consequences. If your arrest for DUI is your first DUI offense, a conviction could result in a fine, a maximum of thirty days in jail, a loss of driving privileges, new insurance requirements and a conviction would be a “stepping-stone” offense for a future charge of DUI Second. Legal representation is important to protect your rights. I have handled hundreds of DUI cases as a former North Charleston Prosecutor. Let me put my experience to work for you.