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Fighting Cases in Lexington Court

DUI Process in Lexington

Experienced Assistance from Our South Carolina Attorneys

James R. Snell, Jr., has extensive experience in challenging South Carolina Highway Patrol cases. He regularly appears on behalf of our clients in the Lexington County DUI Court negotiating with and challenging the DUI Court’s professional prosecutors. We have assisted numerous clients favorably resolve their DUI cases, and would look forward to an opportunity to show you how we can help you. Call us if you are ready to schedule an appointment with our office.

Obtain Our Free DUI Defense Report - James Snell published a free report to educate individuals charged with any South Carolina DUI to understand their charge and their legal rights. This information is critical for anyone who has been charged with DUI to know before making any decisions on how to approach their case. You can request your free copy here.

Lexington County DUI Court Procedures

Lexington County DUI arrests are primarily made by the South Carolina Highway Patrol. A lesser number of charges are made by the Sheriff’s Department. In very rare instances other agencies may make DUI arrests referred to our DUI court. This would include situations involving Department of Transportation or Department of Natural Resource officers. Cases made by city officers (Town of Lexington, Irmo, Cayce, etc.) are not referred to the DUI court but instead go to a separate municipal court.

When someone is arrested in a Lexington County case you will be taken to the Lexington County Detention Center, 521 Gibson Road. There you will initially be offered a breath test prior to being booked into the jail. Normally people spend at least 10-12 hours total in jail before they are released on bond.

Highway Patrol cases are referred initially to the Lexington County Traffic Court, 139 East Main Street. This will be the address written on your blue traffic ticket. The court date assigned to you on the ticket is also for your trial. If you appear in court on that date you will be expected to go before a judge and either plead guilty or be prepared to have the judge find you guilty. By retaining our office you avoid this trial, giving you the best chance at favorably resolving your case.

When we are retained the first thing we do is to file a Notice of Representation with the Court along with legal motions demanding that the Highway Patrol’s prosecutor turn over the case evidence. This automatically cancels the initial “bench trial”. Within a few weeks the prosecutor will turn over case materials called discovery to our office.

This usually contains the following:

  • Accident or police report
  • Roadside Video From Police
  • Field Sobriety Test Score Sheet
  • Breath Site Video
  • Breath \ Blood \ Urine Test Results

Once we received these items your case will be evaluated by James Snell and a second lawyer from our office. Two lawyers always evaluate our clients DUI cases to make sure that all possible avenues of defense are considered. Once the evaluation is completed you will be invited to meet with Mr. Snell in-person or by telephone (at your option) to review the specifics of your case.

Typically in 2-3 months from the date of your arrest (and after we have filed our initial paperwork with the Traffic Court) your case will be scheduled for a pre-trial hearing in the Lexington County DUI Court. At this hearing you will have the opportunity to accept any plea offers made by the prosecutor (such as a reduction to reckless driving), or have your case scheduled for a later trial date (usually a few months off).

If you choose to accept a negotiated resolution at your pre-trial date that will resolve your case. If your case is tried that means that when you come back a judge and/or jury will determine how your case is resolved after considering the evidence and argument submitted by both the prosecutor and our office.

Frequently Asked DUI Questions

What if you received a Notice of Suspension?

We want to help you get back to driving again legally as soon as possible. Normally this can be done in as little as one week after you retain our office. You will be eligible to obtain a Temporary Alcohol License allowing you to drive anywhere in South Carolina after we file a petition with the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings. Technically when you are suspended at the time of your DUI arrest (for either refusing an alcohol test or submitting a high sample) you have two cases. One is criminal (in DUI Court) and one is civil (in the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings). When you retain our office we will represent you in both cases for the same all-inclusive fee.

Can a Lexington DUI be dismissed?

Yes. DUI charges can be dismissed in one of four ways:

  • 1)The prosecutor can elect to voluntarily dismiss your case. This usually doesn’t occur unless the police officer in your case is no longer available or there is a substantial legal issue.
  • 2)The judge can elect to dismiss your case for a valid legal reason. An example would be if the police failed to follow the arrest procedures required by law, or the prosecutor failed to timely provide discovery materials.
  • 3)The court can find you not-guilty after a trial. If you choose to challenge your case by going to trial, a not-guilty verdict will dismiss your DUI charge.
  • 4)Dismissal by plea bargain. We may be able to negotiate a resolution with the prosecutor in which your DUI case is dismissed as part of a plea bargain. This might involve pleading guilty to other pending charges, or by having the DUI reduced to reckless driving or another traffic offense.

25+ years ago area judges and police officers would sometimes dismiss a DUI charge just because they thought someone deserved it. Maybe someone had never been in trouble before, or a DUI conviction would cause them to lose their job. But now since DUI is such a hot political issue DUI cases are not dismissed unless there is a solid legal reason, or the defense can establish reasonable doubt in a trial. Everyone who is seeking a DUI dismissal now needs to hire a lawyer.

Can a Lexington DUI be reduced to reckless driving?

Yes. The prosecutors in Lexington will reduce a DUI to reckless driving if and only if there is a valid legal reason. Normally a reckless driving offer will not be made until we can affirmatively show the prosecutor that there is real uncertainty as to how the case will be resolved in court. Keep in mind that in the event that there is a significant legal issue with your case sometimes it is advisable to turn down plea offers such as reckless driving and seek a total dismissal in court. We can help advise you on all of your options as your case progresses.

Do your lawyers have experience in defending Lexington DUI charges?

Yes. Attorney James Snell has been defending DUI charges in Lexington County since 2004. He is the past-president of the Lexington County Bar Association (membership organization comprised of lawyers who live and work in Lexington County), and is a member of the National College for DUI Defense. He, along with our other attorneys, regular appear during terms of DUI and traffic court in and around Lexington. For more information about our qualifications please click here.

What is your next step?

Call us to request a free initial meeting with a DUI defense attorney. Appointments are typically available the same or next business day. When you come for your appointment please bring a copy of your ticket, breathalyzer results, and any Notice of Suspension form that you received.

You will have a chance to explain the complete circumstances of your case to an attorney and ask any questions that you might have. Call our firm today!

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