Our Charleston DUI Attorneys Answer Your Questions About Drunk Driving And DUI Arrests
A drunk driving charge can have devastating ramifications upon every aspect of your life. That said, convictions and subsequent charges carry even stricter penalties. Our criminal defense attorneys at Young & Young, Attorneys at Law, are former Charleston County prosecutors. If you need a DUI attorney to defend you in your criminal case or assist with reinstating your license in Mount Pleasant, the city of Charleston, Charleston County, we have the experience to represent you.
Our criminal defense lawyers know that if you are facing DUI charges or a license suspension, you probably have a lot of questions. Here, they answer some of the more common questions that they get asked. For answers about your specific case, our firm offers a free, initial consultation appointment.
Is A DUI or a 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 a 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
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. Depending on the tests administered and the way they were conducted, we can often challenge the validity of any field sobriety tests used as evidence against you.
Can I refuse to take the field sobriety tests?
In the state of South Carolina, field sobriety tests are not mandatory and you can refuse to take them. Police officers may lead you to believe that you have to take them, but you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests.
Can I refuse to take a breathalyzer test?
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer or chemical test to determine if you have used drugs or alcohol, you will automatically lose your driver’s license for at least six months. In the state of South Carolina, there are implied consent laws for breathalyzer tests that make them mandatory. In other words, a condition of having driver’s license means that you automatically consent to a breathalyzer test if you are asked to take one.
Can I challenge the breathalyzer or chemical test results?
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?
Will I be able to get my license back?
If you have had your license suspended, you can request an administrative hearing to get it back. You may also be eligible for a provisional or hardship license. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, our DUI attorneys may be able to help you get your license back if it has been suspended.
As former Charleston County prosecutors, our founding attorneys are familiar with everything the state will use as evidence against you in a DUI. In addition, co-founding attorney Kelley Flynn Young has also served on the bench as a magistrate judge. Our criminal defense lawyers will analyze your case, study the evidence against you and customize a legal strategy to fight the charges your are facing.
Schedule A Free Consultation With A Charleston DUI Lawyer
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]. You may also contact us online.