Under South Carolina statute, it is unlawful for you to drive a motor vehicle within the state while under the influence of alcohol to the extent your faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired. It is also unlawful for you to be under the influence of any other drug, combination of drugs, or other substances while operating a motor vehicle. A short point of reference is, if something is influencing your ability to drive safely, you could be pulled over for a DUI and possibly convicted of it.
What Are The Top Misconceptions About Being Arrested For A DUI?
The number one misconception about DUIs is that a conviction for DUI can be expunged. This is not true in South Carolina. DUIs also don’t qualify for pre-trial intervention, so there’s no diversionary program where the offense can be expunged or dismissed. Another misconception many people have is that your employers won’t find out about your DUI. With the way technology is these days, it’s very easy and inexpensive to run background checks. Any employer can find out about your DUI, and potential employers can find it on a routine background check. A DUI will stay on your record forever, and it’s easily searchable.
What Are The Common Mistakes People Make After Being Arrested For DUI?
The most common mistake you can make after being arrested for a DUI is trying to handle a case on your own rather than contacting an attorney. Whereas this may be your first or second time dealing with the criminal justice system, an attorney deals with the system every day of the week. The attorney will have much more experience and will know the law more thoroughly than you will on your own.
Another mistake you can make is assuming that the government has a good case against you. Without asking for the discovery or watching the videotape, you can’t know the evidence the government has against you.
Can You Walk Me Through A Brief Timeline Of What Happens After A DUI Traffic Stop?
When a police officer pulls you over, it is either because he got a report of a suspicious driver, or he witnessed you committing a traffic offense. The police officer will instigate that traffic stop by turning on his lights and pulling you over. When they get up to the car, the officer’s suspicion may be raised depending on your demeanor. If there is a smell of alcohol, slurred speech, or bloodshot eyes, the officer may cite you for driving impaired and under the influence of substances or alcohol.
Usually the officer will ask you to step outside of the vehicle, and the officer checks to see if there are any warrants. Then they’ll ask you to do the standard field sobriety tests. Usually these are the horizontal nystagmus test (or horizontal gaze test), used to check how your eyes are moving when you are tracking the police officer’s finger. People who are under the influence of alcohol are not able to follow the finger smoothly; their eyes jerk back and forth. The officer may also ask you to stand on one leg, or walk in a straight line and turn.
Oftentimes, these tests are put in place to see if you can follow simple instructions. It’s also common for an on-the-scene blood alcohol test with a handheld instrument, usually after the standard field sobriety tests. If you don’t pass the field sobriety test, the officer will take you into custody.
If the police officer has enough probable cause to detain you, they’ll arrest you and put you in the squad car. Usually they have a video camera running while you are sitting in the passenger seat. This is always good evidence for the police officers and the government, because a lot of people who are under the influence will pass out in the car. When you arrive at the police station, they’ll ask you to blow into a breathalyzer to get the blood alcohol content. If you blow 0.0 or under the legal limit, the officers might ask for a urine or a blood sample to test for drugs in the system if you are still showing signs of intoxication.
For more information on DUI Charges In South Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (864) 372-2896 today.
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