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It is not illegal to drink alcoholic beverages or take medication and drive a vehicle in South Carolina. However, it is illegal if the alcohol/medication materially and appreciably impair your ability to drive. The State does not have to prove that you were "falling down drunk" in order to obtain a conviction. Often, the police officer will even state that you were "not drunk". This statement is misleading. Don't be fooled by it. The actual definition of driving under the influence is: "When a person has consumed enough alcohol and/or drugs to materially and appreciably affect their mental and/or physical capabilities to operate their vehicle." The key words here are "materially and appreciably affected". Our job is to make sure a jury understands what level of alcohol/medication induced affects are sufficient to meet this definition.



First offenses are handled in magistrate or municipal court with a six (6) person jury. Magistrates are usually not attorneys. Second and subsequent offenses are heard by a circuit judge in General Sessions court with a twelve (12) person jury. Circuit court judges must be attorneys. The proseuctor bears the burden of proving their claim beyond all reasonable doubt. Many times the state has not been able to convience jurors of a person's guilt.  It also may be possible to negotiate a reduction in your charge if the facts warrant this reduction. This may occur because of something I discover during my investigation. Your decision on what to do with your charge is very important and must be considered by you very carefully. I will require you to look at every video and read every document I look at so we may discuss your case options. Although I can never promise you a specific outcome, during my decades of representing DUI clients, I have won the majority of my cases. I can only tell you that I will fight for you and give you the best defense possible.



At the time of your arrest SC law requires the police to offer you a breath test. If you take the test and get a reading of a .15 or more your license will be suspended for 30 days. A refusal to take the breath test will suspend your license for six months. ADSAP classes are required in both cases.  You have the right to request a license suspension hearing and obtain a "temporary alcohol license" (TAL) to drive. You must request this hearing within 30 days of your arrest or your right to contest the suspension is waived and you cannot obtain a TAL. The TAL has no restrictions - you can drive anywhere, at any time. The letter the Department of Motor Vehicles sends you will not tell you about a TAL. They will only tell you about a "route restricted" license. This is not the same as a TAL. A route restricted license will restrict your driving to a specific purpose (school/work), route (specific streets), and times (enough time to travel to and from school/work) and ADSAP is required in order to obtain it.  Requesting the license hearing allows you to avoid a route restricted license and possibly ADSAP.  I successfully represent many people at their license hearings.



Driving under the influence is a crime and just like any other criminal charge, you are innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To convict you a jury must unanimously return a verdict of guilty. You have an absolute right to request a jury trial. For a DUI 1st offense, a jury trial is not automatic and you must request one. If I am retained to represent you for a 1st offense, I will request a jury trial and you will not have to appear in court on the date listed on your ticket. You will not go to court until the court sets a new jury trial date. This is true in spite of what you were told when you were released on bond. Jury trials are automatic for DUI 2nd and above.


If you are convicted of a DUI 1st offense with a breath test result of .15 or higher or if you refused the breath test, you must install an Ingition Interlock device in your car for three months or six months respectively. For a DUI 2nd or more the required instalation time is: 2nd - 2 Years, 3rd - 3 years, and 4th or more - LIFE. You will only be allowed to operate a vehicle with the IID installed during the required period.  You will be required to pay for installation and removal of the device. You will also pay a monthly fee while the device is installed.  The monthly fees usually average over $100.00 per month.


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