If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in South Carolina, you may have a number of questions about what happens next and how the charge may affect your future. It may be the first crime you have ever been charged, and perhaps you never expected to face criminal charges for anything.

Our DUI Defense Attorneys Are Here To Help

You are not alone. Driving under the influence is one of the most common criminal charges in South Carolina. It can happen to anyone from Dean’s List college students to hardworking executives to grandparents. It is a shocking event to be pulled over by law enforcement and told that you have committed a crime that carries painful public exposure and long-term consequences.

The experienced DUI defense attorneys at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC are here to help you through this experience. We can help navigate the criminal process and pursue a just outcome for you.

Contact us today for a consultation. We know where the criminal justice system falls short and will fight to help you avoid an undeserved result.

a dui lawyer speaking with a judge on behalf of his client in Rock Hill, SCExperience, compassion and attention to detail are the guiding principles that we base our practice on. Selecting an attorney who is right for you is essential. You need someone who can be a strong advocate for you, and someone who knows the system well enough to be able to offer a strong defense and help you achieve your goals. Consider these attributes of our Rock Hill legal team at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC:

  • Experienced – Our attorneys measure their legal careers in decades.
  • Focused – We are a client-focused law firm. Your concerns are our priority.
  • Responsive – Open lines of communication and frequent updates keep you informed every step of the way.
  • Local – With deep roots in South Carolina, we are proud to call the Rock Hill area home.
  • Straightforward – You can count on us to give you honest advice without the sugar coating.
  • Cost-effective – We aim to deliver quality legal services at rates you can afford.
  • Compassionate – You’re going through a difficult time. We respect that and treat our clients with courtesy and kindness.

Most people are stunned at how little alcohol can lead to these accusations or shocked to realize that their normal prescription medications have led to their arrest.

Are There Defenses to a DUI Charge?

a binder on DUI lawThere are a number of defenses that can be presented in a DUI case, and your attorney can help show you the potential problems in how the police officer may have administered the DUI tests, such a breathalyzer test, blood tests, or the horizontal gaze nystagmus and other field testing. If not administered properly, the results “proving” your blood alcohol content (BAC) may be in question.

There are other defenses that are allowed by law, that the lawyers at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC can help you with. Despite the fact that DUI is such a common charge, it is a complex area of law. DUI law has undergone major changes in the last decade, and continues to evolve on a daily basis. These changes create a variety of technical and factual defenses that will be known to attorneys who practice extensively in this area. Because DUI law changes so regularly, it is important to find a DUI defense lawyer who keeps pace with its evolution and is prepared to examine every aspect of the prosecution’s case and challenge the problematic areas.

Some people think that just because they blew into a machine and a number came out that they are guilty of DUI. What they may not know as they are being offered a test is that the results can have a dramatic impact on the type of punishment they face. While the results of any test are important to a case, these results are just part of what should be considered when evaluating the charge.

There are a number of different tests police officers administer to show intoxication, and none of them are foolproof. Each method could give a false reading (positive or negative) for various reasons.

The most important thing to know is that you have better options than simply pleading guilty without speaking to a lawyer. Contact us now so that our experienced Rock Hill DUI lawyers can walk you through the process and what options you may have.

Possible Consequences of a DUI Conviction

a judge making his decision on a dui caseThe possible consequences you may face if convicted of a DUI include driver’s license suspension, community service, substance abuse classes, a fine, or jail time depending on the result of the testing or conviction and whether there are prior DUI convictions on your record.

There are possibly collateral consequences as well. For instance, the substance abuse classes may cost you between hundreds and thousand of dollars. Your insurance costs may shoot up and stay up for years, there may be points on your license for a number of years, and having a conviction on your record may negatively affect employment opportunities.

Is a DUI a felony?

A charge of driving under the influence may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts. A first or second DUI offense is typically charged as a misdemeanor in most cases. However, you may be arrested and charged with felony DUI if the police suspect that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated and caused a drunk driving accident causing great bodily injury or death to another. Regardless of whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony DUI charge, the charge is serious. You will need the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer.

What BAC level is considered over the limit in South Carolina?

South Carolina law prohibits operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher. If you are stopped and found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher, you will be charged with driving under the influence. If you have a BAC of at least .05 percent but less than .08 percent, your BAC along with other factors may be used to infer that you are driving while intoxicated.

If you are under age 21 and register a BAC level of .02 percent or higher, your driver’s license will be suspended immediately for three months.

Will I go to jail after getting a DUI?

A DUI is a criminal charge. South Carolina law prescribes that a conviction of a first offense DUI carries a jail sentence of 48 hours to 90 days, depending on the blood alcohol level. If the BAC level is .10 percent to .16 percent, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is 7 days. A second or subsequent DUI conviction carries more jail time. In addition to going to jail, If convicted you may face fines and suspension of your driver’s license. You want a DUI defense attorney who will fight for your rights.

Do I have to consent to a breathalyzer test?

Any person driving a vehicle in South Carolina is considered to have given consent for the testing of his or her breath, blood or urine for the presence of alcohol or drugs. This is known as the implied consent law. You are required to submit to a BAC test if requested to do so by a law enforcement officer. If you refuse to consent to a breathalyzer test or other BAC test, you will face a 90-day automatic suspension of your driving privileges if you are 21 or older. You may request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license.

What happens after getting a DUI?

If you are arrested for driving under the influence, your driver’s license and driving privileges may be suspended. If you are under the age of 21, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended for three months. If you are under 21 and you have prior convictions of DUI or felony DUI, your driving privilege will be suspended for six months.

If you are convicted for a first offense DUI in South Carolina, you may face fines of $400 to $1,000 in addition to court costs and suspension of your license. You may be sentenced to 48 hours to 30 days in jail. For second and subsequent convictions, the penalties are worse.

You will want the help of a knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer to guide you through the process and work to minimize the impact of the DUI arrest on your future. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC are here to help fight for your rights.

Can I drive while waiting for my DUI case to go to court?

If your license is suspended for a first offense DUI, you may obtain a provisional driver’s license as long as you meet certain requirements such as having a blood alcohol level of less than .15 percent.

You may request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. While awaiting the administrative hearing, you may be eligible for a temporary alcohol license, which costs $100. You will be able to use the license to drive until the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles receives the results of the license hearing.

How long does a DUI stay on a person’s record in South Carolina?

South Carolina treats drunk driving as a serious offense. A DUI conviction remains on a person’s record permanently. The records that are accessed are typically the three-year record and 10-year driver record. A DUI that is older than 10 years may not be picked up in a background check. But it will remain on your criminal record. It cannot be expunged from your record. A DUI conviction on your record can affect your employment prospects and ability to obtain credit. You need a defense lawyer who will seek if possible to get the DUI charges reduced or dismissed to keep from having a DUI conviction on your record.

How many points is a DUI in South Carolina?

Many traffic violations add points to your license in South Carolina. But certain serious violations such as driving under the influence require mandatory driver’s license suspension and are not under the point system. Even though a DUI doesn’t add points on your driver record, it does carry serious penalties if convicted including jail time, fines and loss of your driving privileges.

Contact a knowledgeable drunk driving defense lawyer at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC so we can review the details of your arrest and explain your legal options for resolving the charge with the least impact on your life.

Let our Rock Hill DUI Defense Lawyer Help With Your DUI Charges

South Carolina DUI Defense lawyers standing in a groupIf you are facing a DUI charge in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, York County, Lancaster County or surrounding areas of South Carolina, the experienced local DUI attorneys of McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC can offer the qualified assistance you need to present your best defense.

The attorneys at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC have deep ties to the communities we serve, and have dedicated our careers to making sure clients like you get a fair result. We have handled all kinds of DUI cases, from the most minor to felony DUI, alcohol, legal and illegal drugs, on both prosecution and defense, and we will put our experience and knowledge to work for you.

Contact us now for an evaluation of your DUI defense case and advice about your legal options and how we can help you.