One of the common things I run into when meeting with a DUI defendant is their understanding of or questions regarding information they have found on the Internet.
While there is a lot of information, most doesn't apply here in South Carolina
It is important to understand that every state will have very different DUI laws. Our DUI law in South Carolina comes from several locations, including Title 56 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, court rules, regulations, approved regulations, and opinions from Summary, Circuit, Appeals and Supreme Court cases.
What the law or court opinions are in another state, whether it be California or North Carolina, will generally be completely inapplicable to the circumstances of a South Carolina case. For that reason the vast majority of the general DUI information you would find online would not apply to your case.
What South Carolina information you find may not apply in your County\Town
Even more important than knowing about South Carolina DUI law in particular is how your case is likely to proceed in one of the area DUI Courts. Each area court has a different standard for how they do things, and there are plenty of local courts that hear these cases:
- Lexington County DUI Court
- Town of Lexington Municipal Court
- Richland County Magistrate Court
- West Columbia Municipal Court
- Cayce Municipal Court
- Columbia Municipal Court
Each Court is going to have their own docket system, own method of pre-trials, own system of reviewing cases for potential pre-trial dismissal, and their own judge who will have their own tendencies for deciding motions and making other case decisions. The way your case is resolved in Lexington is going to be very different than in Columbia and very different still in another part of the State such as Spartanburg or Charleston.
While it is true that South Carolina DUI law should be the same and applied uniformly throughout the State, there are some significant variations as a practical matter.
Take everything with a grain of salt
The final issue to contend with regarding online DUI information is that much of it is supplied by DUI defense attorneys are part of their marketing. Many of the articles, websites, blog entries and the like that you will come across online are simply commercials advertising some particular lawyer's services. So while what you read may be technically correct, some lawyers or their advertising agencies may choose to provide incomplete or inconclusive information in an effort to assist in attracting more clients. Also keep in mind that our DUI law has had some significant changes in the past few years, as well as several recent court cases interpreting the law. So in addition to everything else outdated information can be as inapplicable to your situation as information from other states.
So what is a normal person to do who finds themselves facing a DUI arrest? Using the Internet or other online resources try to locate some general information about the law can be ok as long as you are looking at current materials applicable to South Carolina. But to answer the specific questions that you will have, as well as understanding what legal defenses may apply in your case, you need to consult one on one with an attorney.