Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal in South Carolina. However, many drivers do it. Some of them consume the drugs voluntarily, while others take prescription pills. Drugged driving falls under DUI laws and can bring about huge penalties.
Convictions can end with license suspension or revocation, fines, and jail time. In order to avoid them, the best thing a driver can do is to consult a local DUI lawyer. They will evaluate the case and devise an effective defense strategy. For those who are not sure they need a Greenville DUI attorney, reviewing the applicable penalties may help.
As mentioned above, drugged driving falls under SC Code section 56-5-2930 referring to DUI. This section makes it illegal for drivers to operate vehicles while under the influence of drugs. The term “drugs” covers any legal and illegal substances and combinations that may impair the driver.
Drugged driving cases are different than alcohol cases in several aspects. On one hand, they are more difficult to prove, as the breathalyzer test is no longer an option. On the other hand, the level of intoxication is no longer important. Any amount of drugs found in your system can lead to a conviction.
Police officers may stop drivers in traffic in two circumstances:
The police officers will look for signs of impairment. Common examples include dilated pupils, impaired speech, loss of balance, and inability to focus. The only roadside test the police officers can apply for drugged driving is the field sobriety test. This is good news for drivers, as the latter have the right to refuse it.
The field sobriety test does not fall under the implied consent rule, so refusing it won’t result in penalties. In fact, almost any DUI attorney will advise their clients to refuse because it may raise suspicions of drugged driving. It may cause the police officers to request blood or urine tests.
Refusing a blood or urine test will lead to automatic suspension of your driving license. The suspension period goes from 6 months for first offenders to 15 months for fourth offenders. The refusal does not guarantee that the police will not press charges. They will still use video recordings and testimonies to prove their case.That is why anyone charged with driving under the influence of drugs should consult a DUI lawyer because drugged driving can lead to criminal charges and serious penalties. A conviction can be enough to ruin a driver’s personal and professional life. It is better to be safe than sorry.
The penalties for drunk driving depend on the number of offenses. They also take into account the driver’s level of intoxication. When it comes to drugs, the level of intoxication is impossible to measure. This means the penalties will depend on the number of previous offenses. Here are the maximum sentences according to the number of offenses:
These penalties should be enough to convince anyone to consult a DUI attorney. Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious offense, and no court or jury will take it lightly. A conviction will ruin any driver’s record and credibility.
On the other hand, a DUI lawyer may be able to convince the court to dismiss charges. Experienced attorneys are familiar with test rules and protocols, and they may challenge results. They may also be able to show that their client failed the test for justified reasons. Common examples include health conditions, prescription drugs, or misunderstanding of requirements.
Even when the evidence is too solid to combat, they may be able to obtain lower penalties. Common ways of accomplishing that are:
Of course, it takes an experienced DUI attorney to win a case of driving under the influence of drugs. The latter will need a thorough knowledge of DUI laws, testing protocols, and similar case precedents. They will need commitment to defend their client’s interests and extensive investigation skills.
Did the police pull you over and arrest you for driving under the influence of drugs? Do not despair. Many drivers in Greenville, SC, go through this situation. Some try illegal drugs; others take prescription drugs without realizing their effects. What matters is to prevent a small mistake from ruining your future.
At Kendrick & Leonard, we have handled many drugged driving cases. We have unique strategies to get clients off the hook and minimize the consequences of their mistakes. We can use those strategies in your interest as well.
All you need to do is schedule a free consultation with our DUI lawyer in Greenville. Call our office or fill in the online form and give us all the details! We will gladly review your case of driving under the influence of drugs. You will have the answers and solutions you need in no time!