Given motor vehicle accidents could cause immense amount of physical and financial harm, law enforcement authorities take state regulations regarding driving under the influence (DUI) allegations extremely seriously. Even a first conviction could have serious repercussions for someone with an otherwise clear record, and subsequent convictions allow for substantial sanctions.
An experienced Beaufort DUI lawyer who has successfully fought cases like yours could be the perfect ally for you. Once retained, a dedicated Schiller & Hamilton Beaufort defense attorney could make the difference between a case result that negatively changes your future and one that preserves your best interests.
Defining DUI as a Criminal Offense in Beaufort
The state has two DUI statutes, each of which defines a slightly different way of interpretating the same core offense.
South Carolina Code of Laws § 56-5-2930 makes it illegal for a person to operate a motor vehicle while materially and appreciably impaired by any combination of alcohol, medications, or substances. The police officer ticketing—or arresting—the defendant determines whether prosecution is necessary for the level of impairment demonstrated by the accused.
S.C. Code § 56-5-2933 prohibits anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) equal to or exceeding 0.08 percent from operating a motor vehicle—this is an offense officially designated as driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC). Prosecution under this statute requires a blood, saliva, or breathalyzer test indicating an unlawful BAC. A local DUI attorney could offer crucial clarification about how defense strategies and prosecutorial efforts may change depending on the circumstances surrounding the charges against them.
For a free legal consultation with a Beaufort DUI Lawyer call 1-803-366-0333
Do Penalties Increase with Successive Convictions?
A first conviction for drunk driving in the area is punishable by a maximum fine of $400, which may rise to a maximum of $992 in total financial penalties with additional surcharges and assessments. A convicted individual may be incarcerated for between 48 hours and 30 days and have their driver’s license suspended for six months.
Penalties for Different Levels of BAC
Higher measured BACs allow for more severe penalties upon conviction—for example, a person convicted of driving with a 0.17 BAC or greater may be fined up to $1,000 and imprisoned for 90 days at most for a first conviction. This penalty is notably more grievous than DUI convictions with lower BAC levels.
Harsh penalties exist for multiple or successive convictions. A second offense for DUI or DUAC with a BAC under 0.1 percent may lead to a maximum $5,100 fine, one-year jail sentence, or one-year license revocation. A third offense of the same nature could lead to vehicle confiscation on top of more substantial fines, longer jail sentences, and license suspensions. Four or more convictions are punishable by prison terms between one and five years in length.
Representation from a knowledgeable DUI attorney in Beaufort may be crucial when it comes to mitigating potential penalties under any circumstances—especially for individuals who have been convicted of such an offense before.
Beaufort DUI Accident Lawyer Near Me 1-803-366-0333
Seek Help from a Beaufort DUI Attorney Now
Allegations of driving under the influence may have substantial repercussions for you far beyond monetary penalties and potential jail time. Even if you do not spend any time in local or state custody, a driver’s license suspension, ignition interlock device mandate, or an insurance rate increase could wreak havoc on your professional and personal life.
Retaining a seasoned Beaufort DUI lawyer to help fight the charges you are facing could be key to protecting your interests now and in the future. Call Schiller & Hamilton today for a private consultation.