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Columbia DUI Lawyer

KENDRICK & LEONARD, P.C. > Columbia DUI Lawyer

Everything You Need to Know About DUI Laws in Columbia, SC

Driving under the influence is one of the most common mistakes that motorists make. This can land them in serious legal trouble. In Columbia, SC, you can be arrested for DUI even without taking any test. If you get a DUI, you need to talk to a DUI lawyer to understand your options.

Usually, a police officer can stop you and request that you take a breathalyzer test. This requires you to blow into a device that tests your blood alcohol content (BAC). In Columbia, SC the BAC must be equal to or higher than .08% for an officer to arrest you for a DUI. After your arrest, a chemical test will confirm whether you were driving under the influence. That’s why you should contact your DUI lawyer as soon as possible. They’ll be ready to record all the details of your charge and plan your defense. A DUI lawyer will advise you about what to say and what tests to refuse or accept. They’ll make sure you know your rights and they’ll fight for you in court.

What Are The DUI Laws In South Carolina and How Can DUI Attorneys Help?

The implied consent law in South Carolina can be hard to understand. However, it’s important for all drivers to understand the law in case they are ever faced with arrest. In places like Columbia, SC, certain rules are not the same as in other states. The law says that when police arrest you on suspicion of DUI, you must consent to a test. These tests may be a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test. They are used to prove or dispute the suspicion of the officer. You cannot refuse to take the breathalyzer test without suffering penalties. An arrest may occur if you take the breathalyzer test and your BAC is more than .08%.

There are some situations that even with a BAC of lower than .08%, the police officer can take you into custody for further testing. There are different laws if you’re a commercial vehicle operator. In that situation if an officer stops you on suspicion of DUI you’ll be arrested for a BAC of .04 or more. You risk license suspension if you are convicted. This could be a very serious problem if you earn your living by driving.

DUI Lawyer for Underage DUI

South Carolina has a zero tolerance law on underage drinking. If you are underage and found to have a BAC of .02 or more, a police officer will arrest you. Also, you will receive a license suspension. The suspension time can vary. Knowing your rights and having knowledgeable legal advice will be very important if you are underage.

If you are requested to take a field sobriety test, you have the right to refuse with no legal penalties. It is always best to say no to this particular test. Having your DUI lawyer on your side during this process will help give you peace of mind. Even if you were proved to be driving under the influence, DUI attorneys can help minimize your sentence. They’ll tell you how to move forward and will prepare a strong legal defense.

DUI Chemical Testing In Columbia, SC

If you’re arrested under suspicion of DUI, you are must accept chemical testing. Chemical testing is usually administered at a police station. This usually involves urine or blood testing, or both. After being processed, the results will confirm your BAC. Before the police request you to allow this testing, they will read you your rights. This will include informing you about the penalties for refusing to take the test.

If you refuse a chemical test in your first DUI incidence, your license will be suspended. Six months will be the minimum suspension. The second incidence of refusal will get you nine months suspension. The third will earn you a year’s suspension. It is almost never a good plan to refuse chemical testing.

It is highly important to speak to your DUI attorney before you accept or refuse anything. They will advise you on the best steps to take. Your attorney will most likely tell you to allow the testing. This is because refusal earns you a suspension. Cooperating with the authorities is usually the best route to take.

What Happens When You Refuse to Take a Chemical Test in Columbia, SC?

  • Suspension of your driver’s license: You receive a license suspension immediately after your refusal. You can dispute the suspension through a DUI attorney within 30 days.
  • Fines: A judge will enforce a fine of at least $400.
  • Jail term: You may be sentenced to serve a jail term of between 2 and 30 days. This depends on your previous record.
  • Community service: You may be required to do community service. This is often the case for first-time offenders, but it’s not guaranteed.

You risk a lot by refusing to take the urine or blood test. It is essential to consult your DUI lawyer if you’re thinking about refusing. The state can take you to court and argue that you refused to take the test. They’ll try to prove that you knew were guilty. This may lead to an unpleasant sentence, fines, and suspension. Only an experienced DUI lawyer can get you an innocent verdict or dropped charges.

DUI attorneys can also help you file a dispute if your license has been suspended. It’s important to prepare for filing quickly. Missing the 30-day deadline end your chances of lifting the suspension early. That’s a risk you can avoid by making sure you get legal help right away.

How Can DUI Lawyer Help With a License Suspension?

There are three main DUI reasons that may lead to suspension of your license:

  • You refuse to take the breathalyzer test and chemical tests for DUI
  • Repeat convictions for DUI in the last ten years are on your recod
  • You have been found guilty of DUI in a court

In these cases, you might get your license reinstated with the help of DUI attorneys. Your DUI lawyer should submit a challenge to the suspension within 30 days. In the meantime, you can seek a temporary license pending your hearing. There are no guarantees. But if you contact your DUI lawyer right away, they can try to prevent suspension.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests help the police gauge whether or not you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The tests should be given by a qualified officer. The results need to be recorded so the accuracy can’t be disputed. There are three field sobriety examinations:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: This test determines your level of eye response and ability to follow instructions. The police officer will hold something in front of your eyes. It may be a pen or another object. they will tell you to follow its movement using your eyes only. They’ll watch to see if your eyes can follow the movements normally. If the movement of your eyes is inconsistent, that means you are most likely under the influence.
  • Walk and turn. The officer will request that you place your hands at your sides and walk in a straight line. They’ll usually ask for you to take nine or more steps. Then they’ll tell you to turn, and do the same heading back. The police officer will be checking if you can walk in a perfectly straight line. They’ll also watch how you turn and see if you use your hands to balance.
  • One leg stand: You’ll have to stand with one leg at least six inches above the ground for about 30 seconds. You will also need to count in thousands to see if you can maintain your balance and the perfect count. They will be checking whether you are using your hands to balance. They’ll also check if you are supporting your raised foot on the other. They’ll count to see how long it will take you to put down your foot. The police officer will most likely ask you to do this for both legs.

Field Sobriety Tests can be Inaccurate

There is a lot of room for error with these tests. Many argue that even a perfectly sober person might fail. The requirements for each test can be challenging for many individuals. That is why in some states, including South Carolina, field sobriety tests are optional. If asked whether you will perform them, you can refuse and suffer no penalties. It is almost always best to refuse the field sobriety test.

If you do accept to take the field sobriety test and fail, you will be arrested. At that point, you need to call to your DUI attorneys if you haven’t already. They’ll help you decide on whether or not you should plead guilty to the charges. They’ll also tell you if there are any other steps that you need to take. If you’re facing jail time and fines, you need qualified help on your side.

South Carolina Penalties for DUI Charges

There are several possible consequences if you are guilty of DUI. Almost all are relatively severe. Each possible consquence depends on whether you have had previous DUI charges.

  • Fines: For the first offense with a BAC of up to .10, you will receive a $400 fine. The second time will get you penalties of up to $5,100. The third offense is up to $6,300.
  • If you had a BAC of up to .16 in the first offense, you must pay fines of up to $500. For the second offense, penalties are up to $5,500. For the third time the fines are up to $7,500. A BAC of more than .16 will lead to a find of between $1,000 and $10,000. The amount depends on previous offense. Any subsequent offenses will earn you fines of $10,000.
  • Jail Time: The maximum sentence in jail for your first offense would be 30 days. The minimum would be 48 hours, unless you had a BAC of more than .16%. For a second offense, you will be receive between five days and three years in jail. This depends on your level of BAC. Third offenses will get you a sentence of between 60 days and five years. This is also dependent on the BAC results.

High fines and long jail time are something you DUI attorneys can help fight. Even if you are proven guilty, there may be ways to reduce your sentence. Therefore, an experienced DUI lawyer in Columbia, SC will know your options. They will come to your defense and represent you in court. You’ll have peace of mind know that you’re not facing this situation alone.

Breathalyzer Test and Chemical Test Refusal

Breathalyzer tests and chemical tests are required by law when you are arrested for DUI. You will suffer some consequences if you refuse to take them. If you’re a first offender, you will get six months license suspension. As a second time offender you may get up to nine months suspension. The third time leads to a yearlong driver’s license suspension. For the fourth offense, you will have your license revoked for life.

Have You Been Arrested For DUI? Contact Us at Kendrick and Leonard

Although we do not advocate for drinking under the influence, sometimes these things happen. When they do you need the best team behind you. We understand it might not have been your intention to drink and drive. That is why we are ready to defend you.

In a DUI case, you need to have the best DUI attorney with you from the start. Making mistakes with your legal case can cause more problems. If you aren’t familiar with DUI law, you may end up in serious trouble. At Kendrick and Leonard, we have the most experienced DUI lawyer that is ready to assist you. You don’t have to face your DUI charges alone.

Contact us as right away if you’ve taken a breathalyzer test and been arrested. We will advise you on the next legal steps we will take on your behalf. Whether you are guilty or not, our goal is to protect your rights and minimize any negative consequences.

KENDRICK & LEONARD, P.C.
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