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First Time DUI

At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, located in Lexington, South Carolina, we represent individuals who have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Many times those arrested for DUI have never been arrested before, have good jobs and families that they support. We understand that an arrest, and worse yet a criminal conviction, can have drastic and lifetime consequences for our clients. Choosing a lawyer for your or a loved one's DUI case is an important decision, and one that should not be taken lightly.

When you contact our office for your initial appointment you will meet in-person with James Snell. This meeting is confidential and without any obligation. During this meeting he will review the specifics of your arrest along with any available legal or factual defenses. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions that you may have. If you choose to hire us for your case we can begin working to regain any driver's license lost due to an implied consent violation (due to refusing the breath test or testing over 0.15). Additionally we can take whatever steps are necessary to protect your interests with the Court, even on short notice.

Call us today at (803) 359-3301 and schedule your case evaluation. 

South Carolina DUI Defense

We recognize that just because someone is arrested for DUI does not mean that they are automatically guilty. Our system of justice is founded on the principle that you are innocent until proven guilty. This isn't just something you hear about on TV, it applies to everyone who finds themselves on the wrong side of a police encounter. Defense attorney James Snell takes a multi-step approach to every DUI case that he is involved with. Our defense services will include an investigation into the facts of your arrest as well as a review of the procedures used by the police. Unlike other criminal offenses whether or not the police followed standard practices can have significant results in the outcome of any DUI case.

Typical issues involved in a DUI case include:

  • Did the police have probable cause or legal justification for pulling the defendant over?
  • If a single car accident occurred can the police prove the defendant was driving?
  • Did the police exceed the scope of a legal traffic stop in their DUI investigation?
  • Were field sobriety tests administered in accordance with the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration standards? (Many tests, such as the alphabet or counting on fingers may no longer be recognized.)
  • Does the defendant have any medical conditions rendering field testing improper? For example do they have a bad back or wear glasses or contacts?
  • Did the police officer properly videotape the roadside procedures as required by law? If so, have they maintained the tape?
  • Was Miranda given at the required stage of the DUI arrest?
  • Was the breathalyzer test properly administered?
  • Was the breathalyzer machine properly maintained and calibrated?
  • Did the police officer properly videotape the breathalyzer procedure and required waiting period? If so, have they maintained the tape?
  • Was the defendant advised of their implied consent rights orally and in writing?

South Carolina First DUI Penalties

Since 2009 South Carolina has had a three tiered system for first offense DUI penalties. It is based on the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) reading that a Court finds a defendant to have at the time of the arrest. Most of the time this finding is made solely based on the reading of the breathalyzer machine.

The penalties for a conviction are as follows:

  • For a BAC < .10 a fine of $1,022 and up to 30 days in jail
  • For a BAC .10 to .16 a fine of $1,229.50 and up to 30 days in jail
  • For a BAC > .16 a fine of $2,267 and up to 90 days in jail

If the court finds that there was a valid refusal of a breath, blood, or urine test, or the BAC was 0.15 or higher, then there is an additional requirement of an ignition interlock device (installed and maintained at the defendant’s expense).

In addition to these penalties anyone convicted of DUI will also face the following:

  • Publically available criminal conviction that cannot be expunged later
  • Driver's license suspension
  • Mandatory Alcohol and drug counseling at a cost of up to $2,500
  • Required "SR-22" insurance
  • Greatly enhanced penalties for any future DUI charge

Is it worth it to fight a DUI arrest?

An arrest for DUI is not the same as a conviction. You are not convicted until you either plead guilty, no contest or are found guilty after a trial. There is no automatic reduction in the penalties for those who choose to plead guilty rather than fight their charges in Court. It is impossible for any defendant to know if the police officer will have enough evidence to present to the Court to support a DUI conviction. Only after conducting pre-trial discovery in accordance with the South Carolina Rules of Criminal Procedure and examining other publically available records maintained by the police, including SLED, can you even begin to make this determination. Therefore it is important that anyone who has been charged with DUI consult with an attorney before appearing in Court.

DUI and Blood Alcohol Content

South Carolina's DUI law is codified in S.C. Code § 56-5-2930. This law makes it illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or another drug to the extent that their "faculties to drive" are "materially and appreciably impaired". It is important to note at the onset that there is no specific blood alcohol content (BAC) requirement necessary for a DUI arrest or conviction. Although BAC plays a part in DUI cases, especially in the penalty phase, there is no minimum BAC required to support a DUI case in South Carolina nor is there a BAC leval high enough to "automatically" convict someone.

If after reading the materials contained on this web site if you would like to consult with criminal defense lawyer James Snell about your case you can contact our office to schedule your no cost consultation.

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  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • 10.0 Superb Rating on Avvo
  • Accredited Business by the Better Business Bureau
  • The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • National College for DUI Defense

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