Answering Your Questions About Drunk Driving

A drunk driving charge can have devastating ramifications upon every aspect of your life. That said, subsequent charges carry even stricter penalties. It is wise to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer carefully examine your situation and provide the strong legal guidance you need no matter the complexity of your charges.

There are certain common questions that Young & Young, Attorneys at Law, feels might benefit our readers, including:

Is a DUI or DWI a serious offense?

Absolutely. A drunk driving charge is much more serious than a traffic violation. They are misdemeanors that will remain on your criminal record permanently. In addition, certain elements can lead to you being charged with felony DUI. For example, a drunk driving offense that causes an accident or injury can be charged as a felony.

How can they charge me with DUI if they pulled me over for speeding?

During a valid traffic stop — which can include the full range of offenses from speeding to not wearing a seat belt to not coming to a complete stop — the officer is always on high alert. The officer might observe you slurring your speech, notice the smell of alcohol in the vehicle or see an open beer can in the cup holder. Any of these observations can lead to a field sobriety test that might result in a drunk driving charge.

What is a field sobriety test?

Most states, including South Carolina, have standardized three types of tests an officer can perform in the field to gauge a driver's coordination and ability to safely operate a moving vehicle. The three tests are:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)
  • One-leg stand
  • Walk-and-turn

While not approved as standard, the officer might ask you to perform other tasks — such as reciting the alphabet — that he or she believes are appropriate to test your physical or mental capability.

Can I challenge a breath test result?

A breath test result seems like a crucial piece of evidence against you. These results, however, are notoriously unreliable. Your defense attorney will likely start asking questions such as: Was the officer properly trained on administering the test? Was the machine in proper working order? Was the machine cleaned and stored properly between examinations?

Call Our Firm — Protect Yourself

If you were charged with a DUI or DWI offense, contact our firm today. We offer free consultations to clients in Charleston and communities throughout South Carolina. Call us at 843-619-7755 or 866-626-3860. You may also contact us online.