You already know that DUI is a really serious criminal offenses. There are billboards all over Columbia and Lexington telling you that its “Sober or Slammer”, “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” or ‘You Just Blew $10,000”.
But if you’ve been unfortunate enough to be arrested for DUI it is important that you learn the truth about the law and what your legal rights are. Here are five things that you might not know about South Carolina DUI law..
- It is not illegal to drink and drive. There is no law against consuming alcohol and then driving a motor vehicle. If there was it would shut down nearly every restaurant and bar. The fact that you’ve simply had something to drink prior to driving is not enough to make you guilty of DUI.
- Your vehicle must actually be in motion. South Carolina’s DUI law requires that a car actually be in motion in order to qualify as “driving.” After all DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” Not all police officers seem to understand this, and as a result we regularly have to help clients who are charged with DUI after falling asleep in their car or just sitting in a parking lot.
- You can refuse field sobriety tests. Police officers ask people to perform field sobriety tests in order to obtain evidence to use against them in court. You have a right to refuse these tests. In fact you have a right to refuse everything, including to answer questions about your drinking or to take a breath test.
- You are not automatically guilty if you blow 0.08. South Carolina’s DUI law makes it illegal to drive while materially and appreciably impaired. This standard isn’t tied to any specific blood alcohol level. There is no breath number that means someone is automatically guilty of DUI. In fact the law is that you cannot be convicted based solely on a number.
- DUI convictions never expire. If you are convicted of DUI you will have a criminal record for the rest of your life. South Carolina law specifically says that DUI can’t be expunged (unlike domestic violence, shoplifting, assault, or other crimes). Once arrested, you can only avoid this record if your DUI case is dismissed or you are found not-guilty.
These five things you might not know about DUI are just the beginning. There many legal and court procedural rules which might affect your case. The most important thing for anyone who has been charged with DUI to do is to consult with an attorney before their court date.
Call us at 1-888-301-3532 today.