Fort Mill DUI Attoneys | Rock Hill DUI Lawyers
Arrested for DUI? You know this is serious. We’re not going to try to scare you. Instead, we are going to give you some initial information and guidance. Let’s get started right now.
There are many lawyers who practice in this area. How do you choose one over another. Your friends may “know” a lawyer, and this is a great place to start your search. But, before you hire a lawyer or firm, we strongly encourage you to “do your own research” and carefully compare different lawyers‘ actual qualifications and experience. This initial decision can be critical in the outcome of your case. So be sure to make the best choice after critically reviewing several different DUI attorneys.
For your review, the trial lawyers at Reeves Aiken Hightower & Burns LLP offer the following summary of our DUI Attorneys credentials and experience:
Robert J. Reeves 803-554-4157 firstname.lastname@example.org
Attorney Robert Reeves has been a practicing trial lawyer for the past 25 years since 1989. He has represented civil and criminal clients and tried cases in State and Federal Courts. Mr. Reeves has become a strong advocate for those individuals charged with a DUI and has completed the same training as police by attending courses sponsored by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). He has earned certificates including DWI Investigation and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement courses. Mr. Reeves has been sponsored for membership into the National College for DUI Defense and proudly supports the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He has also been recognized by his peers and has been inducted into the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 as well as SC Super Lawyers.
As a civil attorney, Mr. Reeves knows he has to assemble all relevant evidence and experts, has to prepare witnesses, and must meet his client’s burden of proof to persuade all six (6) or twelve (12) jurors. That’s how you win cases in civil court. In criminal prosecutions, the State of South Carolina has the burden of proving a client guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” As a criminal defense DUI attorney, the roles are reversed. All we have to do is carefully and thoroughly review the State’s evidence and find legal or police error to file Motions to suppress evidence or, in certain instances, to dismiss cases altogether. If we proceed to a jury trial, our job is to show “reasonable doubt” by challenging the State’s case and/or the way the police conducted their DUI investigation. And it is important to remember that we only have to convince a single juror to “hang a jury” and require the State to retry your case or negotiate a plea offer.
J. Tyler Burns 803-579-4492 email@example.com
Attorney Tyler Burns is a former Assistant Solicitor with the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit (York County and Union County). While there, Mr. Burns received valuable training from the State on how to prosecute DUI and DUAC cases. He was also in court and trying cases almost every week. Mr. Burns now takes what he learned as a prosecutor to now defend those persons wrongfully charged with a drinking related crime, including DUI, DUAC, BUI, and felony DUI cases. Mr. Burns has also completed NHTSA training in the DUI courses DWI Investigation and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE). In fact, Mr. Burns used to actually train police officers in proper DUI investigation and case development. As a criminal defense DUI attorney, he collects all of the State’s evidence and then “reverse engineers” cases looking for both legal and police procedural errors.
Our goal is always the same in every case. Find some legal error that will allow us to make a case go away. We never start with the premise that you are guilty and the best we can do is try to get a plea deal. Instead, we aggressively try to find evidence that refutes the State’s case so that we can make Motions to Suppress Evidence or Motions to Dismiss. In some cases, the State may offer a plea deal. We will review any such offers with you and review the pros and cons of any offer. We will answer all of your questions and give you the best guidance we can. After consideration and counsel, YOU then decide how to proceed. Afterall, it is your case and your life. We are just there to give you full information and options.
Driving Under Influence (DUI)
It is against the law to drive any motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, in any combination, such that you are “materially and appreciably impaired.” You do not have to be “legally drunk” to be arrested and convicted of DUI. If you “blow” above the “legal limit,” you will definitely be prosecuted. But even if your BAC level is below 0.08%, the State may still elect to prosecute you if they can prove you were unsafe to operate a vehicle. The only exception to this scenario is if your BAC is 0.05% or below. Then, there is a statute that mandates you cannot be prosecuted as you are conclusively presumed to not be impaired under the law.
It should be noted that you can be charged with DUI whle operating “any motorized vehicle” which can include cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, even lawnmowers. Yes, lawnmowers. If you are drinking a beer while cutting your grass and you go out into the roadway to turn around, you can be arrested for DUI. And finally, remember that “drunk driving” includes being impaired from alcohol (beer, wine, liquor, straight alcohol) and/or drugs (prescription, illegal, natural). Really, any intoxicating substance can cause you to be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or while impaired (DWI).There are plenty of cases which go to trial with a BAC level of 0.00%. However, to prove drug based impairment, the State will ideally have blood or urine test results but can go forward with a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) testimony about physiological tests including the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) and Vertical Gaze Nystagmus (VGN). What do we do as DUI lawyers? Click here for a video explaining our DUI defense strategy.
Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC)
SC law provides you are “legally drunk” if you have a “blood alcohol concentration (BAC)” of 0.08% or greater. This finding is sometimes referred to as a “per se DUI.” This level can be determined by a breathalyzer test, or if you cannot complete that test, by blood or urine tests. Again, your consent is “implied” if you drive in SC, even if you are from somewhere else. Simply getting behind the wheel is enough. This charge is often misunderstood as being a “lesser charge.” It is not. The law was actually written and passed to make it easier for the State to convict someone. “Bad driving” is not an element of this charge like in a DUI case. And, the penalty is essentially the same as with a DUI. The only potential benefit is if your original DUI charge is dismissed, and the ticket is re-written as a DUAC. In this limited scenario, the DUAC conviction is recorded on your driving record and does not result in a permanent criminal record. But, this option is not available if you are charged with DUAC originally.
Implied Consent to Testing
If you drive in South Carolina, the law says you have already given your consent to chemical tests of your breath (blood or urine under certain circumstances) to determine the presence of alcohol and/or drugs if arrested for DUI. If you refuse, your license is automatically suspended for 6 months subject to DMV challenge. Once charged, you have 30 days to request a DMV hearing to contest your license suspension. If you request this hearing timely, you can apply for driving privileges through a Temporary Alcohol License (TAL) while waiting for a hearing date. If not, your suspension will last for the full six months.
For a first offense DUI, your license will be revoked for 6 months, subject to getting a provisional license. In addition, you are subject to a $400.00 fine, up to 48 hours in jail or community service (BAC <.10%); $500.00 fine, up to 72 hours (BAC <.16%); or $1000.00 fine, up to 30 days (BAC >.16%). And, you will be required to obtain SR-22 insurance for 3 years, even if you do not own a vehicle. To qualify for a provisional license, you will also have to enroll in Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP) and pay a $100.00 license reinstatement fee. Subsequent DUI convictions result in even more serious penalties and fees.
One of the prosecution’s key pieces of evidence in a DUI case, other than the arresting officer’s description of impairment and video evidence at the street and in the breath test room, is the breathalyzer results of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If you choose not to submit to testing, your refusal will be used as evidence of guilt at trial and will also serve as a basis for the implied consent offense described above. People always ask whether they should “blow” or not. As a criminal defense DUI attorney, we never like to give the State more evidence against our clients. However, it is a difficult call given the immediate revocation of driving privileges if you refuse. We advise clients the answer depends on how much they have really had to drink, what type of alcohol is involved, over what period of time, and whether they were also eating while drinking. Luckily for those charged with DUI, the breathalyzer is not fool-proof science as it is portrayed by the prosecution, police, and anti-alcohol groups. There are many challenges available to “breath testing” and we explore all available defenses once we receive the State’s case against you. See our SC DUI attorney Tyler Burns’ take on the breathalyzer test and the science behind it in this video.
If you’ve been charged with DUI, DUAC, BUI, or felony DUI in Rock Hill, SC, Fort Mill, SC, Columbia, SC, Charleston, SC, contact any of our lawyers statewide by calling 877-374-5999, and let’s see what can be done to help in your case.
We help those charged with DUI throughout South Carolina including those charged with DUI in the following counties: