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
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
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
- 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.