Driving under the influence is a common criminal offense that many individuals will face at some point in their lives. Although you may see driving under the influence (DUI) as a less severe misdemeanor crime, the potential penalties for a DUI conviction can be harsh. As a Ladson DUI lawyer could explain, you may lose your license, face fines and increased insurance premiums, and even be sentenced to jail.
A DUI is also a criminal conviction that will appear on background checks by prospective employers and others who need to consider your record for an opportunity. You may become ineligible for some jobs with a DUI conviction on your record. By getting the help of a criminal attorney, you can fight back against the charges against you and protect your reputation
DUI and DUAC Charges in Ladson
Under S.C. Code § 56-5-2930, individuals commit a DUI offense when they drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs that materially and appreciably impair their driving abilities.
This offense does not require any specific blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measurement to prove. Instead, if there is probable cause to believe that drivers are substantially impaired, they can face DUI charges. There does not need to be a blood, breath, or urine test showing a BAC below the standard maximum limit for law enforcement authorities to charge drivers with a DUI.
What is DUAC?
If drivers have a BAC of .08 percent or higher, they commit the related but separate criminal offense of driving with an unlawful blood alcohol concentration, also known as a DUAC. Any blood, breath, or urine tests indicating results of .08 percent or higher can result in automatic DUAC charges under S.C. Code § 56-5-2933, even if law enforcement officials see no evidence of impairment. The BAC measurement alleviates the need to present any evidence that the driver was driving erratically or appearing to be intoxicated.
What are the Penalties for a DUI or DUAC Conviction?
Penalties for both DUI and DUAC under state law are identical. For a first offense, individuals can face up to 30 days in jail or a $400 fine. The minimum term of imprisonment that must be served is 48 hours so that it does not interfere with the regular employment of the individual. Instead of the minimum 48-hour jail sentence, individuals can complete 48 hours of community service, but judges cannot force individuals to choose community service instead of incarceration.
A second DUI or DUAC conviction can result in a jail sentence that ranges from five days minimum to one-year maximum and a fine of $2,100 to $5,100. A third offense can result in a prison sentence of up to three years, and a fourth or subsequent offense can cause a minimum one-year prison sentence and a maximum five-year prison sentence, as well as more costly fines. The involvement of a DUI legal advisor in Ladson in a DUI or DUAC case can be crucial to a positive resolution.
Other potential penalties for DUI or DUAC charges are likely to include license suspension, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and completion of an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program or ADSAP. A DUI or DUAC conviction is also likely to increase insurance premiums substantially when individuals regain their ability to drive. These sanctions ultimately can be extremely costly.
Increased Penalties for DUI and DUAC Convictions
In some cases, individuals may face enhanced punishments for DUI and DUAC convictions due to specific aggravating factors in their cases. For example, if the BAC test results for drivers measure between .10 and .16 percent, their minimum jail sentences and fines automatically increase. Likewise, if they refuse a request for testing, drivers will face an administrative license suspension of six months in addition to the suspension that they receive as a result of the DUI or DUAC conviction.
Furthermore, if a DUI or DUAC causes an accident or injures or kills another, then the charges and penalties can increase significantly. In these cases, individuals could find it important to enlist the services of a local DUI representative
Call a Ladson DUI Attorney for Advice
A Ladson DUI lawyer could be an instrumental part of defending you from DUI or DUAC charges. By getting the legal assistance that you need, you could be more likely to get the results that you want in your case.
DUI and DUAC charges can have a severe impact on your life if you fail to handle them appropriately. Legal advice can be crucial to shaping an effective defense strategy in your case. Call today to special with a legal professional about your case.