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Can you drive after being arrested for DUI?

Can you drive after being arrested for DUI?

Whether or not you can legally driver after being arrested for DUI is determined by the implied consent law.

This law provides for certain situations where a police officer can issue a Notice of Suspension form, immediately suspending your driver's license.

Unless this applies to you, you can continue to drive after being charged with DUI (assuming that you have an otherwise valid driver's license).

The implied consent law provides that your driver's license should be suspended for 6 months (for a first offense), if you refuse a breath, blood or urine test, OR you submit to a test and register a 0.15 blood alcohol content or higher.

If this has happened to you, it can be possible to restore your legal driving privileges in just a few business days. This is by filing a petition with the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings in Columbia, South Carolina. Our office can help prepare and submit this filing fast, often within hours of being hired on a DUI case. That office will schedule a hearing, often in 1-2 months, to determine if the implied consent suspension should apply. A day or two after the petition is filed by our office at the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings you will be eligible to go to the DMV and obtain a temporary alcohol license, which allows you to drive anywhere in South Carolina 24/hours a day. It is not route restricted, and you are not required to have SR-22 insurance or enroll in the ADSAP course. 

Sometimes we hear from clients that they attempted to give a breath sample, but the machine still recorded a refusal. Or that the police office became inpatient when asked questions about the blood or urine test process and also considered it a refusal. The police officer is the one who programs the refusal setting into the breath machine, or otherwise determines if a refusal occurred after a request for a blood or urine test was made. If the police officer made a false or unfair determination of a refusal this can be challenged in the hearing.

The outcome of the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings process does not affect what happens to the underlying DUI in court. The outcome in court for the underlying DUI also does not affect what happens with the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings or an implied consent suspension. They are completely separate processes.

You can also lose your driving privileges if you are convicted of DUI. This only applies if you are convicted, which would only occur after you either plead guilty or are found guilty. Our office fully contests DUI charges on behalf of our client, a process that can take a minimum of several months (or longer) to complete. During this time there is no DUI suspension. If your DUI is dismissed or favorably reduced then you will not face any suspension for the actual DUI.

It is important to keep in mind that you can face the suspension after the DUI arrest for implied consent and a separate suspension if you are convicted of DUI. For South Carolina driver's charged with a 1st offense DUI these two can add up to a one year suspension. You alsoautomatically agree to accept the initial 6 month suspension + complete the ADSAP course if you fail to challenge the implied consent suspension. Because of this, it is important to always challenge an implied consent suspension at the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings whenever applicable.

If you have a driver's license from another state other than South Carolina the implied consent suspension still affects you, even if the officer doesn't take your driver's license. This is because the implied consent law only provides your South Carolina privileges to be suspended automatically, it doesn't immediately go back to your home state. If the suspension is not later challenged and cancelled (called rescinded), then your home state will be notified and you will face whatever suspension that state's law calls for. We can help out of state driver's challenge the implied consent suspension at the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings, after which time they will be able to obtain a non-resident credential from the South Carolina DMV allowing them to drive while awaiting the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings decision.

We're able to help if your facing any South Carolina DUI charge. We help with both the Office of Motor Vehicles process as well as in challenging the underlying DUI in court. The first step is to contact our office for a free consultation. Those appointments are held in our Lexington office, but we are able to assist with any DUI anywhere in South Carolina. To schedule your appointment contact us at (888) 301-3532.



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