York County DUI Attorneys
Arrested for DUI, DUAC, or felony DUI in York County (Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Tega Cay)? You know this is serious. You have lots of questions and need answers now. We are York County DUI attorneys and are here to help. We are not going to try to scare you. Instead, we are going to provide you with some pertinent information about what you are facing and what you should expect. After you have had a chance to review this initial website content, you can call York County DUI lawyer Robert J. Reeves directly on his cell phone at 803-554-4157, even after regular office hours and on weekends. Once we review your particular circumstances, Mr. Reeves can then provide you with some initial guidance and then schedule a personal meeting. If you decide to hire us, we pledge to fight hard and do our best to protect your interests. Don’t assume you are guilty just because you have been arrested. DUI defense is a process. You are just beginning that process now by searching for an experienced York County DUI lawyer.
Free consultations throughout our representation
We do not charge clients for any consultations, initial or at any time during our representation. Of course not. After all, we are interviewing to be your lawyer. And once we become your attorney, we appreciate the anxiety our clients are feeling after being arrested and spending time in jail. We also know that you are going to feel better after learning more about your options. Every case is different, but our comprehensive approach is always the same. We will review the State’s evidence against you, including video at the street and in the breath testing room. Then, we will develop an individual defense strategy for your particular case. After we have seen the State’s case against you, we can sit down, answer your questions, and make recommendations. When you have full information, you will be in a position to decide what is best for you and your family.
Robert J. Reeves (firstname.lastname@example.org) 803-554-4157
Attorney Robert Reeves has been a practicing trial lawyer for over 25 years since 1989. He is licensed in both South Carolina and North Carolina and has represented civil and criminal clients and tried cases in State and Federal Courts. Mr. Reeves is a strong advocate and aggressive litigator defending those individuals charged with a DUI. He has completed the same training as police by attending courses sponsored by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Mr. Reeves has earned certificates including DWI Investigation, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, as well as the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) 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 South Carolina Super Lawyers.
In civil cases, Mr. Reeves has to assemble all relevant evidence and experts, has to prepare witnesses, and must establish 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 cases, the State of South Carolina has the entire burden of proving a client guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” As a DUI defense attorney, the roles are reversed. The prosecutor and police have to gather all evidence, secure witnesses and experts, and have to convince a jury to convict you unanimously. Our job is to carefully and thoroughly review the State’s evidence, find legal or police errors, and either win an acquittal or convince just a single juror of reasonable doubt. If a jury cannot decide by unanimous vote, then the judge will declare a mistrial, requiring the State to either retry your case or negotiate a plea offer.
Thomas W. Holland Sr. (email@example.com) 803-288-3885
Attorney Tom Holland is also an accomplished trial litigator with over 20 years legal experience. He has a strong prosecutorial background and has licenses in both South Carolina and Virginia. Mr. Holland started his career as a South Carolina prosecutor. He has been an Assistant Solicitor with the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit (Union County), a violent crime prosecutor with the Sixth Judicial Circuit, and a Lancaster County City Solicitor. Mr. Holland has been appointed as a Special Assistant United States Attorney and served as General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. In addition to his law practice, he is also an Adjunct Instructor at the University of South Carolina at the Lancaster campus where he teaches Criminal Justice courses, including Criminal Procedure and Policing/Criminal Courts. From his years as a criminal prosecutor, he now aggressively defends those persons wrongfully charged with DUI and other crimes. He critically examines the State’s evidence to determine if they can, in fact, prove a client “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” If not, he is prepared to negotiate a plea bargain or go to trial depending on what our clients decide is in their best interests.
Choosing the Right DUI Lawyer for You
There are many lawyers who practice here in York County. Out of all of those lawyers, there are only a few who practice criminal defense. And out of those attorneys, an even smaller number actually focus on DUI cases. So how do you choose one DUI lawyer over another. We will offer below one way we believe you can use in choosing the best DUI lawyer for your case.
In this age of so many lawyers, almost everyone “knows” a great lawyer. Friends, family, even coworkers may suggest a lawyer, and this is often a good place to start your search. However, we don’t believe it is best for you to stop there. Instead, before you actually hire a lawyer or firm, we strongly encourage you to “do your own research” and carefully compare different lawyers’ qualifications and experience. After you have narrowed the field down to one or two, you should then schedule an appointment to actually meet with those final candidates. Ask them hard questions and get a feel for whether you will be able to work with this person. It is important that you invest the time here in the beginning of your case. This first critical decision can make a real difference in the outcome of your case. So be sure to make the best choice for you after evaluating several different DUI attorneys. While our primary office is based in Baxter Village / Fort Mill, we represent clients throughout York County, including Rock Hill, Tega Cay, Clover, York, and Lake Wylie. We go where you need us, and we will be there for you.
Our Approach to DUI Cases
Our goal is always the same in every case. First, we make sure that the State of South Carolina can actually prove the allegations against you. We look for legal error(s) that may allow us to make motions to have portions of the evidence suppressed or, in some situations, even have your case dismissed. We do not begin with the premise that you are guilty just because you have been arrested and charged. If the State does have a prima facie case that will get them to a jury, then we evaluate how you will appear on video to a jury. In many cases, the State will offer a plea deal. After we have completed a full and comprehensive review of all evidence, we will sit down with you and review your options. We will answer your questions, give you the pros and cons of going to trial, and then review any plea offer made. At that point, you will be in the best position to make a good decision for you and your family. We guide you and make recommendations, but you will always be in charge and make all key decisions. After all, it is your case and your life. We will be there for you every step of the way.
Driving Under Influence (DUI) – Section 56-5-2930
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.” We all know of the “legal limit” of 0.08%. But what you may not know is that a person does not even have to be “legally drunk” to be charged with a DUI. Of course, if you “blow” above the “legal limit,” you will be prosecuted. But even if your BAC level is below 0.08%, the State can still choose to prosecute if they can prove a person was still unsafe to operate a vehicle. The only exception to this scenario is if your BAC is 0.05% or below. At that level, there is a statutory section that protects you from being prosecuted as you are presumed to not be impaired under the law.
It should be noted that you can be charged with DUI while 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).
Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) – Section 56-5-2933
South Carolina law provides that 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. The penalty is now exactly the same as with a DUI. Previously, a potential benefit was the scenario of having your original DUI charge dismissed and then rewriting a new ticket as a DUAC. The DUAC conviction was recorded on your driving record and did not result in a permanent criminal record. However, this “loophole” has since been eliminated, and there is no practical difference between a DUI and a DUAC. The only advantage, and it is a small one, is that it may seem better to say you accepted a plea offer on the advice of your lawyer than to be convicted at trial by a jury of your peers.
Felony DUI – Section 56-5-2945
Most DUI arrests are misdemeanor charges. In an instant, a DUI can become a felony if there is an accident involving “great bodily injury” or death. Felony DUI can result from a multi-car accident with injury or a single vehicle accident occurs with passengers being hurt. Most people do not drive if they believe they are unsafe or impaired. They have many options available to them, including taking a cab or Uber or having a family member or friend come get them. However, even if you are at a low BAC level, you are risking a felony DUI if you are involved in an accident that is caused by your intoxication. There are even circumstances where you may be rear-ended by another driver, but you can still be arrested and prosecuted if you were driving at an unsafe slow speed or pull out in front of another vehicle. The critical term “great bodily injury” is defined as bodily injury that creates a “substantial risk of death” or that causes “serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment” of any bodily member or organ. The primary defenses to a felony DUI include: (1) whether a person was legally impaired; (2) whether the alleged impairment proximately caused the resulting accident; and/or (3) whether the damages constitute “great bodily injury” or resulted in causally related death.
As you might expect, the penalties for a felony DUI increase dramatically. If convicted in a serious injury case, there is a mandatory fine of between $5,100.00 and $10,100.00 as well as a mandatory imprisonment term of between thirty (30) days to fifteen (15) years. If death results, the mandatory fine increases to between $10,100.00 and $25,100.00 as well as a mandatory imprisonment term of between one (1) year to twenty-five (25) years. And just be clear, the mandatory active sentences are served in prison through the South Carolina Department of Corrections, not jail in the local county.
Implied Consent to Testing – Section 56-5-2946
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.
Misdemeanor DUI Penalties
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.
Breath Testing “Science”
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.
For a complete reading of the DUI laws and statutes, please click here. After you have had an opportunity to review the actual laws, you will further appreciate the need to retain an experienced DUI attorney who focuses their practice on this complex area of criminal defense. Call our office now and let’s get started.