DUI Pleas in Lexington, South Carolina

Should I plead guilty or fight my charges?

When you are arrested for DUI you will be provided with a Court date. When you arrive you will be presented before a judge who will ask you how you if you would like to plead guilty or not guilty. This is the most important decision you will be confronted with about your DUI case.

There are three types of pleas that you may enter for your DUI case:

Guilty – when you plead guilty you are admitting that you were driving while materially and appreciably under the influence of alcohol and drugs. You give up your right to remain silent, or have the officer prove anything about your case to the Court. When you plead guilty you are also guaranteeing that you will face all of the penalties associated with a South Carolina DUI conviction, including a permanent and publically available criminal record and a loss of your driving privileges. You face the same penalties if you plead guilty that you would if you had a trial and were found guilty by the judge or a jury.

No contest – A no contest plea is exactly like a guilty plea except that you only admit there is enough evidence to convict you, not that you are necessarily guilty of the offense. The penalties are exactly the same as if you had plead guilty.

Not Guilty – When you plead not guilty you are preserving all of your rights as a criminal defendant. This is the only possible plea that will give you any chance of avoiding the penalties of a DUI conviction. If you want to keep your driver' s license, avoid a criminal record, avoid SR-22 insurance and mandatory alcohol counseling this is your only option.

Why Work with Our Firm

With you as our client, we will begin the process by notifying both the court and the prosecutor of your intent to enter a plea of “not guilty.” You will be able to avoid having to appear in court on the date on your ticket (this procedure is approved by the South Carolina Supreme Court and is followed in every court and by every bonding company in South Carolina). An employee will hand deliver this notification to the court, and normally you will receive a scanned clocked-in copy (with the court stamp), by e-mail within hours of retaining our office.

We will then begin the process of requesting and evaluating the DUI case materials obtained through the court’s discovery process. After our review we will have an opportunity to speak to the prosecutor before your case would be called for trial. This may result in a negotiated plea bargain such as:

Reckless driving – This is a reduced level traffic offense. Although it carries six license points and a fine of approximately $440, it is not a DUI and does not required alcohol counseling, SR-22 insurance, or a mandatory license suspension (but does include loss of CDL).

Reduced moving violation – Some DUI charges can be reduced to lower levels than even reckless. Examples include charges such as too fast for conditions (2 points and $88 fine), or failure to yield right of way (4 points and $130-$237). These also would not require alcohol counseling, SR-22 insurance, or a mandatory license suspension.

Public disorderly conduct – This is a non-traffic offense that may be appropriate in some cases, especially DUI arrests when there is significant evidence of intoxication but no evidence of vehicle movement.

Additionally this may lead to other resolutions should as in or out of court dismissals of your case.

If you can answer yes to one of the following you should consider pleading not guilty and fighting your DUI charge:

  • Is it important to you to avoid having a DUI conviction on your record for life?
  • Can you afford a DUI fine now, along with years of high automobile insurance?
  • Is it important to you to avoid losing your right to drive a car in South Carolina for several months?
  • Will having a DUI on your record put you at risk of losing your job?
  • Do you have a CDL license you intend on keeping?
  • Will having a DUI on your record make it harder to obtain employment in the future?
  • Do you feel that you were wrongly arrested for DUI?
  • Do you have questions regarding the police officer's actions during your DUI arrest?

When you make the decision to fight your charge you are giving yourself the opportunity to avoid the civil and criminal penalties that come with a DUI conviction. We assist our clients in challenging all aspects of the officer's DUI case, including issues related to probable cause, Miranda, deficiencies in field sobriety testing, the breathalyzer procedure, and evidence of impairment. When the decision is made to challenge your case that will give us an opportunity to explore the availability of a pre-trial dismissal, favorable plea bargain (such as to a non-DUI traffic offense) or a not-guilty trial verdict.

Even in extreme DUI cases, including those involving high BAC’s, accidents, leaving the scene, failure to stop for a blue light, or other similar circumstances, it frequently is possible to negotiate a resolution that can dismiss or reduce the charges. This can include a negotiated “fine only” sentence (no jail time), and reduce suspension periods and the amount of any fines. One rule about hiring our office is that if your charges are not dismissed or reduced to your satisfaction, we want to fight your case fully in court.

We believe that the decision of whether or not you plead guilty to a DUI or other criminal offense should only be made after consulting with a criminal defense attorney. If you have been arrested for DUI you should contact us before your Court date. To schedule your no cost initial consultation call us at (888) 301-3532. Appointments are set in our office located at 123 Harmon Street in downtown Lexington. Cases are accepted in Lexington, Columbia and throughout South Carolina.

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