DUIs & Your Rights

There is a lot of misinformation regarding DUI (driving under the influence) charges. A lot of it may stem from how prevalent alcohol consumption is. There is not a complete prohibition against driving after drinking, however it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in South Carolina if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of the two and your ability to drive is materially and appreciably impaired (S.C. Code Section 56-5-2930). In South Carolina, your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content or Concentration) can help the Court determine whether or not you are under the influence of alcohol. If your blood alcohol is a .05 or less than you are conclusively not under the influence of alcohol; if your blood alcohol is greater than a .05 but less than a .08 this does not give rise to any but this fact can be used in making a determination if you are under the influence of alcohol, and if your BAC is a .08 or higher an inference may be drawn that you are under the influence of alcohol (S.C. Code Section 56-5-2950 (G)).  

There are a considerable number of DUI myths. Some center around beating a breathalyzer, while others misinterpret the law. Allow us to dispel some rumors and insert some facts in their place for you. 

What Happens If I Get Pulled Over?

One of the biggest questions about getting pulled over is a field sobriety test. Do you have to take one? In South Carolina, you are under no legal obligation to take a field sobriety test. Many people may assume the opposite because they know you have to comply with lawful orders given by police officers. Refusing to take a field sobriety test does not constitute disobeying a police command (S.C. Code Section 56-5-2953(A)(1)(b)). 

Another question that stems from this line of thought is answering the police officer. If they ask you if you’ve been drinking, what should you do? Is refusing to answer a crime—or will it imply guilt? Let’s put this to rest right now: you do not have to answer. Under the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution you are not under an obligation to provide evidence against yourself. 

Additional Points 

If a police officer asks if you have been drinking, they likely intend to detain you. You don’t want to incriminate yourself at this point in the conversation. You may not know this, but no portable breathalyzers are used in South Carolina. If a police officer wants to administer one, they bring you to a detention center. 

Breath tests are video recorded. There are immediate license consequences if someone takes and has a BAC of .15 or higher or for refusing to take a breath test. However, you are entitled to ask for an Administrative Hearing to challenge any license suspensions that are issued and you have 30 days to do so.

Also of import is that a DUI conviction can have significant collateral consequences.  Collateral consequences are things that happen as a result of a conviction that the Court does not impose as part of its sentence. For example, a DUI conviction can result in the loss of employment and/or the loss of college scholarships.

Cate & Brough A DUI charge can have serious consequences, but you can refute it. Call Cate & Brough at Call us at 864-585-4226 to schedule a consultation. We want to understand the facts of your case, see it from your viewpoint, and then develop a custom solution that fits your legal needs.

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.

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