South Carolina prohibits drivers from operating motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription. Driving while intoxicated charges make up most of the arrests in this state every year.

Most arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) result in a misdemeanor on the driver’s permanent record. However, felony convictions are also possible in repeat offender cases and aggravated circumstance DUIs, such as a felony DUI where someone is injured as a result of a traffic infraction while under the influence. Contact an intoxicated driving defense lawyer experienced with aggravating factors in Charleston DUI cases as soon as possible if you face charges.

Child Passenger

If an officer arrests a motorist for driving under the influence while a minor under 16-years old is in the car, they can charge them with other charges beside just a DUI, including the endangerment of a child. To learn more about how having a minor in a vehicle could affect a DUI case, talk to an experienced Charleston attorney right away.

Bodily Injury or Death

If a motorist in Charleston under the influence causes an accident that leads to severe injuries or death, officers with likely charge them with felony DUI. A felony DUI carries penalties that are significantly more severe than a misdemeanor DUI offense. The particulars of the injuries sustained by the other person are an extremely important part of felony DUI defense, so it is important to reach out to a diligent defense attorney as soon as possible so they can initiate their own investigation, obtain and preserve evidence as needed, and interview any possible eyewitnesses whose memory may be less reliable in the future.

High Blood Alcohol Content Level

In this state, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of above .08 percent is grounds for a DUI arrest. However, the applicable penalties for a DUI offense increase as the BAC increases, particularly in a case where the BAC reading is 0.16 percent or greater. A Charleston lawyer familiar with DUI cases could help someone understand how BAC could increase the charges against them.

Penalties in Charleston for DUI with Additional Factors

A DUI with aggravating circumstances in Charleston is a felony conviction with the potential for much longer jail sentences and higher fines. If a court finds a defendant guilty, they have a felony on their permanent record and could face jails sentences of ten to 15 years in prison.

Any person convicted of driving while intoxicated is required to enroll in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP). This program is a government-run class designed to educate the convicted person about substance abuse via group and individual counseling sessions. The required number of sessions varies depending on an individual’s personal history, drinking habits, and other characteristics determined by an intake coordinator.  If the participant successfully completes all of the required sessions, then they will be deemed to have fulfilled their ADSAP requirements after a conviction for DUI or implied consent violation.

Felony Driving While Intoxicated Statute

It is against state laws to drive an automobile while under the influence of alcohol to the point of mental impairment. A DUI arrest with aggravating factors increases the punishment the defendant faces. Under South Carolina Code § 56-5-2933, if an officer arrests a person for driving under the influence and it is their fourth or subsequent offense, they will spend at least one year in prison. If that fourth or subsequent offense conviction individual’s BAC or blood alcohol content level is between 0.10 and 0.15 percent, they face a punishment of jail time between two and six years.

If their BAC is above 0.16 percent, the accused person face a sentence of between three and seven years. A qualified attorney experienced with Charleston DUI cases involving aggravating factors could review the details of the arrest and help build a defense against the charges.

Call a Charleston Attorney Experienced with Aggravating Factors in DUI Cases

If you face charges for an aggravated DUI, you must contact a skilled legal professional right away. Aggravating factors in Charleston DUI cases carry much steeper penalties that could negatively affect your life in many ways.

You should never attempt to handle the defense for these charges on your own. A knowledgeable legal professional could help you investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest and help to strategize a solid defense. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.