Why You Need a South Carolina DUI Lawyer
DUI laws in South Carolina are strict and will become even harsher when the new laws become effective later on in 2014 after Governor Nikki Haley signed bill 308. This DWI vs DUI new law has been commonly referred to as “Emma’s Law” as a result of a young girl that was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver that had more than one conviction for DUI. If you have been arrested for a DUI in South Carolina the best thing for you to do is consult a South Carolina licensed DUI lawyer.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
The consequences of a first offense DUI conviction range from steep fines, potential jail of up to 30 days, mandatory participation in alcohol classes, loss of your driver’s license, and a permanent criminal record that cannot be expunged.
What Does It Mean to Be Driving Under the Influence?
An arrest for DUI in South Carolina does not mean that you can’t drink and drive. Contrary to popular belief through the use of police television advertising, DUI does not mean you cannot have any alcoholic beverage and then drive. Rather, the legal standard is that you have consumed alcohol or a drug that has “materially and appreciably” impaired your ability to operate a motor vehicle properly.
What exactly does it mean to be “materially and appreciably impaired”? There’s no definition other than what the language states but typically police and prosecutors will use your ability, or lack thereof, to operate your vehicle in a safe manner, your performance on the field sobriety test, how you appear, how you stand when talking to police, and whether your speech appears to be slurred.
What Can a South Carolina DUI Attorney Do to Help?
In South Carolina there are a number of criminal procedures that police must follow in order for the evidence in your case to be admissible against you. There is a legal requirement that all DUI arrests be video recorded and if the police fail to do so or if the audio is missing from the video recording then the case may be dismissed. This is covered in South Carolina’s statue 56-5-2953 which requires:
Video recording to begin at the activation of police blue lights;