Dedicated DUI Attorneys in Greenville, South Carolina

If you just received a DUI (driving under the influence) charge in the Greenville area, you need an experienced DUI attorney by your side. You may feel like there is nothing you can do to fight your DUI, but that is simply not true. An arrest does not guarantee a conviction.

At Roberts Law Group, PLLC, our attorneys have decades of collective experience challenging test results, field sobriety tests and other law enforcement findings. Contact us at 877-880-5753 to find out how we can help you with your case. We have trusted and experienced Greenville, South Carolina, DUI attorneys on our team.

Preparing A Strong Legal Defense For DUIs In Greenville, South Carolina

Charges for DUIs are fairly common in Greenville. There is no question drunk driving is a problem in the area. It has one of the state's highest DUI death rates, with an average of one death every two weeks in Greenville. In addition, South Carolina ranks higher than the national average for DUI fatalities.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that law enforcement aggressively pursues these cases. If the police arrest you for a DUI charge, you should find an experienced criminal defense attorney for legal advice right away.

What Constitutes A DUI In Greenville?

South Carolina law states that you may not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The state has two main laws you should understand:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI): The police determine that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol based on their tests and observations.
  • Driving with unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC): This charge is solely based on a chemical test result of .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) or above.

In addition, you may face a driver's license suspension under certain circumstances, such as refusal to take a chemical test, a high BAC or multiple offenses.

What Are Effective Defenses In A DUI Case?

Your first step to preparing an effective defense will be locating an experienced defense attorney. Look for a law firm that specializes in criminal law. Your DUI attorney can challenge several aspects of your case, including:

  • Reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop: The police must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over.
  • Police procedure: The law requires police to follow strict protocol during a DUI stop and arrest.
  • Administration of the field sobriety tests (FST): These tests are highly subjective and can be flawed.
  • Results of the breath test: Law enforcement must properly maintain and calibrate these machines, and they must correctly instruct you when taking the test.

Your attorney can also assist you with your driver's license suspension, and other administrative aspects of your case.

Tips For Choosing A DUI Defense Lawyer In Greenville, South Carolina

When you are facing DUI charges, a good criminal defense attorney is important for many reasons. Your future is on the line. Even if your current charge is only a misdemeanor, the consequences can extend to your employment, your driver's license and jail time. In addition, if you ever face another DUI, the consequences become more severe. A good defense attorney will help mitigate your charges, or perhaps even get them dismissed.

When choosing a defense attorney, you should consider several factors, but the most important factor is experience with the charges you face. You want a law firm that has a proven track record of good results for their clients and is not afraid to take your case to trial, if necessary.

Take the time to research the attorney and meet with them to see if you feel an attorney-client connection with this person. Consider the following:

  • Do they listen when you talk?
  • Have they taken many cases to trial?
  • Do they answer your questions in a way you understand?
  • Or do they seem to be focused on pushing you to accept a plea so they can move on to the next case?

You want an attorney dedicated to fighting for the best results possible for your case. At Roberts Law Group, we're committed to doing just that. Get in touch by calling our law office at 877-880-5753.

How Much Does A DUI Defense Lawyer Cost?

Many clients are concerned about the cost of attorney fees. Fees vary depending on the complexity and severity of your charges. For example, if your DUI stemmed from an auto accident that caused an injury, your case will be more complex than a routine traffic stop, and will require more time and effort from your attorney. The charges may also be more severe, however, which means the stakes for your freedom are higher.

Roberts Law Group, PLLC, offers free initial consultations to discuss the specifics of your situation with you to give you a better idea of the cost for your case.

What To Know About DUI Defense: The Legal Process In Greenville, South Carolina

If this is your first DUI arrest, it can be a confusing and frightening experience. You probably have many questions about what will happen next. This depends in part on whether you agreed to submit to the chemical test at your arrest. If you submitted to the test and your BAC was over the legal limit of .08%, the police likely charged you with DUI or DUAC. Either way, you should contact a law firm experienced with DUI defense for legal advice.

You may refuse the chemical testing, but under South Carolina's implied consent laws, your refusal will trigger an automatic suspension of your driver's license. You may also still face penalties for traffic offenses, or even DUI, if the officers have other evidence of your intoxication. If you do not submit to the test, however, they may have a much harder time convicting you of DUI, which carries much harsher penalties than the implied consent laws. You must weigh the risks of your own situation in consultation with an experienced DUI attorney.

What To Expect From The Court Process

After your arrest, your next step will be your bond hearing before a Magistrate or Municipal Court Judge. At this point, you may plead guilty or allow the judge to decide your case in a bench trial. You may also plead not guilty and request a jury trial. If you choose a jury trial, the judge will set your bail, as well as your next court date. If you cannot afford bail, you may choose to use a bail bondsman for a fee.

The court process may seem slow. In Greenville County, your trial date may be around six to nine months out. During the time you are waiting for your trial, you will work with your DUI lawyer to build your defense. You may also continue to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. Whether to accept a plea deal may depend on several factors, including:

  • Are they offering a lesser charge, like reckless driving?
  • Are they offering a lesser punishment?
  • How likely are you to succeed at trial, according to your attorney?
  • What type of evidence does the prosecutor have?
  • Are there problems with the evidence, such as shaky legal grounds for the stop?

Your attorney will go over all your options with you to help you make an informed decision about accepting a plea. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make. There are no guarantees at trial, even with a strong defense. This goes for both sides, however, which is why the prosecution offers you a deal.

Going To Trial

At your trial, both the prosecutor and your attorney will present their cases to the jury, including all physical evidence and witness testimony. You may or may not decide to testify. The court cannot require you to do so, but you and your attorney may decide that testifying will help your case. Once both sides finish their arguments, the jury will decide your case. The trial, itself, will likely take no more than a couple of days. If the jury does find you guilty, the judge will issue your sentence.

Penalties And Laws For DUIs In South Carolina

Under South Carolina laws, a DUI conviction may result in fines, jail time and a loss of your driver's license. Not only will you have to deal with the court system, but you will also have to deal with the South Carolina DMV. The penalties for any given conviction depend upon several factors, including BAC and prior offenses within the past ten years.

South Carolina's DUI Statutes

As stated above, South Carolina has two laws that deal with impaired driving of a motor vehicle under Sections 56-5-2930 and 56-5-2933: DUI and DUAC. Both consider your BAC, as registered by a breath test. The only difference is that law enforcement does not need to prove "impairment" with DUAC, as long as your BAC is .08% or higher. With a DUI, law enforcement can consider other elements, like the field sobriety tests, to determine whether you are impaired if your BAC is between .05% and .08%. Note that if you have a BAC of .04% or higher while driving a commercial motor vehicle, you may lose your commercial driver's license, under Section 56-1-2130.

Criminal penalties progress with each offense. If your BAC range was between .10% and .15%, you may face the following penalties:

  • First offense: You could pay fines of up to $2,500 and a prison sentence of up to 90 days. Your license could be suspended for six months, and you could also be forced to install an ignition interlock device (IID) if your BAC was .15% or higher.
  • Second offense: Your fine could range from $2,100 to $5,500 and jail time of five days to three years. Your license could be suspended indefinitely and you may have an IID for two years.
  • Third offense: Fines can run between $3,800 and $10,000 for a third offense, plus 60 days to five years in jail, and a required IID for three years.

The penalties are harsher if your BAC was above .15%.

A judge may allow you to do community service in place of some of your jail time. After your third offense within ten years, you will face felony charges.

Understanding Your License Suspension

Whether you refused to take the breath test, plead guilty to a DUI or a jury convicted you of a DUI, your license may be suspended. You can apply for a provisional license, however, if this is your first offense and your BAC was under .15%. A provisional license is a temporary license that allows you to drive during your suspension. In order to qualify for a provisional license, you must:

  • Already have a valid driver's license at the time of suspension
  • Have specialized car insurance (Certificate of SR-22)
  • Pay the license fee
  • Not have any other suspensions before or during the current one
  • Enroll in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Program

Another option may be a Route Restricted Driver's License, which only allows you to drive certain places, such as work, school and a court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment program. If you refused the breath test, you may request an administrative hearing to contest your suspension. While waiting for your hearing, you may be granted a Temporary Alcohol Restricted License.

If your BAC was .15% or more, or you have two or more DUI convictions, the court may order you to install an ignition interlock device (IID). These devices require you to blow into them in order to start your car. If the device registers alcohol, your car will not start. In some circumstance, the court may allow you to choose the IID in place of your license suspension.

With so many potential outcomes to your situation, you should consult with an experienced DUI attorney in the Greenville area right away in order to ensure the best result possible.

Contact Our Attorneys Today For A FREE Consultation

Call the Roberts Law Group, PLLC, today to find out if we can help you with your DUI case. We are happy to meet with you for a free initial consultation. Call 877-880-5753 or send us a message online.