Why Do You Need a Lawyer for a DUI Arrest in South Carolina?

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can be a terrifying experience. For some, there is an immediate Notice of Suspension issued regarding their driving privileges. Some may face issues with employment or professional licensing. Others may not realize that DUI is never expungable from a criminal record, and it could come back to haunt them years later. In this article, the attorneys at Futeral & Nelson explain just a few of the benefits of having an experienced DUI lawyer on your side.

A DUI Attorney Can Get You Back on the Road as Quickly as Possible

If a person refuses a breath or urine test, or submits a breath sample and has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 or greater, that person is issued an immediate Notice of Suspension. This suspension can be challenged by requesting a hearing. We explain this hearing, sometimes referred to as the “implied consent hearing” or “administrative hearing” here. This request entitles you to a Temporary Alcohol License (TAL), which keeps you on the road until we get a decision from the hearing. This license is NOT route restricted. The attorneys at Futeral and Nelson can help obtain your TAL as quickly as possible so you can minimize the immediate disruption the suspension has on your life.

If you are arrested on or after May 19, 2024, you may elect to place an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your car instead of getting a TAL while you wait on an administrative hearing. There are very few situations where we find getting an IID is advisable. Typically, we recommend getting a TAL instead.

An Experienced DUI Attorney Can Gather the Evidence You Need to Prepare a Solid Defense in Your Case

DUI cases are often complex and there are numerous types of evidence we look to obtain that may improve our ability to defend you. A few examples are as follows:

  • Body-worn camera (BWC)
  • In-car dash cam of the arresting officer’s vehicle
  • Footage of the breath test or refusal
  • The police incident report
  • 911/Dispatch records and recordings
  • Officer training records
  • Breathalyzer operator certification records
  • Documentation regarding the breathalyzer’s history and maintenance
  • Computer data produced during a breath test
  • Pertinent medical records
  • Friendly evidence such as phone records, credit/bank receipts, bar/restaurant tabs, or time cards
  • Drug Recognition Examination (DRE) reports
  • Your booking records from the jail
  • Maybe more depending on the particular facts of your case

Some of these things we obtain in every case. Some we may order depending on our investigation because we may decide not to seek out evidence if we believe it will harm you. Regardless, we perform a thorough investigation to turn as many stones as possible to find things to help your case. We may give an initial impression during your initial consultation, but it is only after we review the evidence and begin talking to a prosecutor that we can tell you more accurately where you stand.

An Experienced DUI Lawyer Can Help Explain the Process

There are a lot of moving parts in DUI cases. Between the complicated laws (mostly found from S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2030 through 56-5-2995), the DMV and driver’s license issues, the court process, the penalties, and the overall effect on your life, a person not experienced in DUI laws and defense can get overwhelmed. The lawyers at Futeral & Nelson take as much time as you need to make sure you understand everything going on with your arrest. An experienced DUI lawyer can accurately explain the consequences of DUI, as well as the various “deals” that may be offered. A person convicted of DUI 1st offense is subject to the following penalties:

  • Jail up to 90 days (depending on if and what you blew)
  • A fine of around $1,000 (more in some cases)
  • Completing the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • A driving suspension of 6 months
  • SR-22 insurance for 3 years
  • Permanent record

Our job is to find ways to avoid these penalties. We expand on DUI consequences in this article.

A Local DUI Lawyer is More Familiar with the Relevant Parties

We focus our practice in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties, which makes us more likely to be familiar with the court, prosecutor, law enforcement agency, and even judge in your particular case in these counties. A consultation is free with the lawyers at Futeral & Nelson.

Call and schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Futeral & Nelson today. You are welcome to come to our office, but due to timing issues on the front end, it is very common that we have a phone call with you to get started. We are confident you will be more comfortable after speaking with us.

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