Felony DUI Cases

Lexington DUI Lawyer Providing Assistance for Serious DUI Charges

Individuals who are receive felony charges for allegedly driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol are at risk of facing harsher penalties than those who receive misdemeanor DUI charges. Felony charges usually apply when a DUI offense has led to serious physical harm or death of another person. The Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC provides a more in-depth overview of felony DUI charges, the potential penalties they can lead to and how defendants can take action to better protect themselves against conviction. In addition to providing helpful information, our Lexington DUI attorney can also offers aggressive legal representation through each step of the criminal justice process. Having a strong legal professional involved can greatly increase a defendant's chances of avoiding conviction.

Types of Felony DUI in South Carolina

If an individual is accused of committing a DUI offense that led to the "great bodily injury" of another person, that individual will be charged with felony DUI. The state of South Carolina (under the South Carolina Code of Laws §56-5-2945) defines great bodily injury as any bodily injury that either causes great risk of death, or that causes "serious, permanent disfigurement" to any part of a person's body. It can also be an injury that cases loss or impairment of a function of any body part of a victim.

A driver can also be charged with felony DUI if his or her impaired driving led to another person's death. In 2011, there were 9,878 deaths nationwide that involved a driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at or above the legal limit of 0.08%. These deaths made up 31% of total traffic fatalities for the entire year, according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in December 2012. In South Carolina, there were 315 fatalities in 2011 that involved a driver with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, making up 38% of all traffic fatalities in the state for that year. There were also 65 fatalities that involved a driver with a BAC between 0.01% and 0.07%, meaning the driver had alcohol in his or her system but was technically below the legal limit.

Felony DUI Penalties

Drivers convicted of felony DUI can face the penalties listed below. These are serious repercussions that can create major negative impacts on a person's life.

DUI Causing Great Bodily Injury:

  • 30 days to 15 years of mandatory imprisonment
  • Mandatory fine of $5,100 to $10,100
  • Driver's license suspension for period of imprisonment, plus three years

DUI Causing Death

  • 1 year to 25 years of mandatory imprisonment
  • Mandatory fine of $10,100 to $25,100
  • Driver's license suspension for period of imprisonment, plus five years

The court is not allowed to suspend any part of a mandatory sentence, meaning that no portion of this sentence can be replaced with probation. It is also important to note that repeat felony DUI offenders (or repeat offenders of other types of DUI offenses) are required to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. This requirement can last for anywhere from two years following the individual's license suspension to an entire lifetime, depending on how many previous offenses the convicted person has had. For every fine that is paid as part of a felony DUI sentence, $100 will be reserved for use by the Department of Public Safety for the Highway Patrol, according to South Carolina law.

Retaining a Knowledgeable Attorney

Whether you have been arrested or you are under investigation by law enforcement for an alleged DUI offense, the first thing you should do is immediately retain a knowledgeable attorney you can trust. The longer you wait, the more time law enforcement and prosecutors have to build a strong case against you. Felony charges are very serious and should not be taken lightly. Our law office is equipped to handle various types of DUI cases, whether the client is someone accused of DUI for the first time or someone accused for a second or third time. Call us today for dedicated legal assistance!

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