Under South Carolina law, a DUI may be elevated to a felony when the defendant is deemed to have been driving under the influence and causes a traffic accident that proximately causes another individual to suffer either great bodily injury or death.
Given the enhanced penalties surrounding a felony offense, a defendant may wish to consult with an experienced DUI attorney. A Charleston felony DUI lawyer may be able to work with prosecutors and judges to mitigate a defendant’s penalties and better preserve their future.
Defendants Should Respond Quickly to Felony DUI Charges
A felony DUI charge subjects an individual to potential years in prison. Due to the time-sensitive nature of DUI evidence, immediate response and strong attention to detail are necessary to ensure that a defendant can build the best possible defense for their case.
Visiting the scene, talking to eyewitnesses, searching for video surveillance, reviewing GPS data from phones or cars affiliated with the incident, and other aspects of investigation must be addressed within the hours and days after a felony DUI arrest. It is critical to assemble a defense-minded team as soon as possible to begin the process of building a strong defense.
Felony DUI charges are more difficult to defend because a defendant faces significantly more jail time than they might for a misdemeanor DUI charge. When cases involved injuries to other individuals, prosecutors and the courts are less likely to be lenient in sentencing. While the core principles of defending a felony DUI are the same as the principles of defending misdemeanor DUIs, the amount of evidence that needs to be investigated and preserved is much more substantial in a felony DUI case. Therefore, it is essential for defendants to seek the services of a felony DUI lawyer in Charleston as soon as possible.
Penalties Associated with a Felony DUI in Charleston
If an individual is charged with felony DUI in Charleston, they face a mandatory fine between $5,100 and $10,100 and mandatory jail time ranging from 30 days up to 15 years in severe cases. If a felony DUI results in death, a convicted defendant may receive a mandatory fine between $10,100 and $25,100 and mandatory jail for one year up, with a maximum possible sentence of 25 years.
Although judges and prosecutors are less likely to be lenient towards a defendant whose actions caused injury or death, there may still be opportunities for a mitigated sentence. A local criminal defense attorney who is familiar with judges and prosecutors in Charleston could actively negotiate to lessen a sentence or avoid particularly damaging penalties.
Reach out to a Charleston Felony DUI Attorney
A skilled lawyer could be an essential asset for someone charged with felony DUI. An experienced criminal defense attorney understands that there are various stages of representation that must be given the utmost attention, including investigation and mitigation.
If you are facing felony charges for a DUI that caused injuries or death, a Charleston felony DUI lawyer could work to gather evidence, contact witnesses, and work with judges and prosecutors to preserve your future. Time is of the essence, so do not hesitate to reach out to a defense attorney.