I Was Just Stopped and Arrested for Drunk Driving. What Now?
Q: I was just arrested for drunk driving. What should I do?
A: Because each case is different, it is difficult to deliver advice that covers everyone. This is why it is so important to have an attorney who advises you about your rights, and the options available to you for your specific situation.
At Glenn Churchill, Esq. & Jack Sinclaire, Esq. we advise and represent clients, defending them against drunk driving charges while protecting their rights and considering their futures.
No matter the complexity of your case, we charge a flat fee. However, at this time, we choose to limit our practice to those charged with their first DUI offense. Currently we do not take clients charged with their second or third DUI or Felony DUI.
Q: I was just arrested for a DUI. Now What?
A: After a DUI arrest, it is imperative that you consult an attorney right away. You only have 30 days after the date of your arrest to request an administration license hearing, or your license will be suspended administratively if the officer files the proper paperwork.
This suspension is for six months if you refused to take the data master, and 30 days if you registered above a .15 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).
If you file the proper paperwork, a hearing will usually be held within 30 days. At this point an experienced attorney will be needed to work on your behalf to help you secure the best possible results.
Q: How can I be charged with a DUAC in South Carolina?
A: DUAC stands for Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration. This is an alternative way of charging a driver for drunk driving, but this can only be charged when the BAC is 0.08 or greater. If this case is taken to trial, the attorney can inquire about all the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. In the alternative, a pleas to a lesser charge can often be negotiated.
Q: How can I be charged with a DUI in South Carolina?
A: You can be charged with DUI if the officer believes that your ability to drive has been impaired due to alcohol or drugs. However, many times the officer will arrest you simply because he smells alcohol and feels the need to protect you and others on the roadway.
An arrest for DUI is not a conviction for DUI. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your ability to drive was 'materially and appreciably impaired'. Your ability to drive safely is the issue.
Q: I was charged with DUI in South Carolina, but I live in another state. Can I still Drive at Home?
A: You can drive in your home state until you are convicted of DUI. Upon conviction for DUI, South Carolina will normally report this to your home state and your home state will suspend your license according to its own laws and procedures. Our attorneys represent many people from other states including nearby North Carolina, who were arrested on suspicion of DUI while traveling along the Interstate 95 or Interstate 20 corridors. We can advise you about your best options, whether you live in North Carolina or elsewhere, if you are charged with DUI as a non-resident.
Blood Alcohol Level Questions
Q: How many drinks does it take to reach significantly impaired BAC?
A: The effects of alcoholic drinks vary greatly because of the rate of absorption and BAC attained varies from person to person due to factors such as the following: weight, amount of fat tissue and stomach contents. Alcohol affects small or thin people faster and stays in their system longer than it does with heavier or larger people. Alcohol is more concentrated in the smaller person's bloodstream.
Q: What is illegal per se?
A: This refers to statutes which make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a certain BAC level. Ins South Carolina, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.
Q: What is implied consent?
A: This refers to statutes in which consent for a driver to submit to BAC testing is provided for by statute, not expressly by the driver. Any person operating a vehicle in South Carolina is considered to have given consent for testing of breath, blood or urine for purposes of determining the presence of alcohol or drugs or both in the person's system, if alleged to have committed a violation.
Q: I was arrested for DUI but i only blew a 0.00 on the breathalyzer. What is going on?
A: The officer believes that you were under the influence of drugs such that you ability to drive was significantly impaired. You can be charged for DUI for driving that is significantly impaired either by alcohol or any other type of substance including prescribed medicines and illegal drugs.
Q: Do I have to take the field sobriety test?
Q: Do i have to take the breathalyzer test, give urine or draw blood?
A: No, you do not have to take the field sobriety test.
A: Yes. If you do not consent to any of the above, your license will be automatically and immediately suspended for a minimum of six months. This is called the implied consent law and all drivers are obligated to provide a sample for BAC analysis. However, this immediate suspension can be appealed, and you can then get a "drive anywhere in South Carolina license" until the suspension hearing.
Q: My license was suspended because of the breathalyzer test, but I need to drive to and from work or school. What can I do?
A: First, you always have the option to appealyour suspension. This is usually your best choice. You can also get a route-restricted license if your driver's license was not already suspended before you were arrested for DUI or DUAC. You must first sign up for the ADSAP class and then you can go to the DMV and get a license that will allow you to drive to and from work or school during specific times.
Q: Why was my license suspended for a 0.15 BAC level (or higher) even though i have not yet be convicted of DUI or DUAC?
A: In South Carolina your license is always suspended for a BAC of 0.15 or higher. It is suspended for at least one month. This goes on your driving record immediately. Insurance companies regularly review your driving record and usually decline to insure you under these circumstances.
However, this suspension can be appealed so that your driving record is protected. The suspension must be appealed within 30 days of your arrest. After filing for the appeal, you are eligible to obtain a drive anywhere license in South Carolina.
General Drunk Driving and DUI Questions
Q: Is beer and wine less impairing than hard liquor?
A: Impairment is not determined by the type of drink, but rather by the amount of alcohol ingested over a period of time. There is a similar amount of alcohol in such standard drinks as a 12-oz serving of beer, a 4-oz glass of wine and 1.25-oz of 80 proof liquor. Beer is the most common drink consumed by people stopped for alcohol-impaired driving or those involved in alcohol related crashes.
Q: Do alcohol related crashed differ by gender?
A: Crashes involving men are much more likely to be alcohol related than those involving women. Among fatally injured male drivers of passenger vehicles in 2000, 34 percent had BACs of 0.10 or more. The corresponding proportion among women was 18 percent. Alcohol involvement in fatal crashes is highest for men ages 21-40.
Q: When do alcohol related crashes occur?
Q: Why is deterrence so important, and how can it be achieved?
A: They happen at all hours, but alcohol involvement in crashes peak at night and is higher on weekends than on weekdays.
A: Police miss signs of impairment. It has been estimated that as many as 2,000 alcohol impaired driving trips occur for every arrest and that, even when special impaired driving enforcement patrols are conducted, as many as 300 trips occur for each arrest.
Q: Who can be stopped for impaired driving?
A: Although police cannot stop and test individual drivers without cause, they can investigate any driver who, based on established criteria appears to have been driving while impaired by alcohol. Most alcohol-impaired driving arrests are made by officers on routine patrol who discern signs of impairment after stopping a driver for an ordinary traffic violation.
Q: How to checkpoints work?
A: Police can use checkpoints to stop drivers at specified locations to identify impaired drivers. All drivers, or a predetermined proportion of them, are stopped based on rules that prevent police from arbitrarily selecting drivers to stop. in South Carolina, law enforcement officers conduct public safety checkpoints, checking for such things as: driver's license, vehicle registration, proof of liability insurance and obvious equipment violations in addition to looking for impaired drivers.
Q: Are checkpoints constitutional?
A: The U.S. Supreme Court has held that properly conducted checkpoints are legal under the constitution.
Q: What is Administrative License Revocation (ALR)?
A: This refers to statutes in which a person's driver's license may be automatically suspended for certain violations of the law. In South Carolina, any person who refuses to consent to BAC testing or who has a BAC reading of 0.15 percent or higher (0.02 percent for persons under 21) will have his/her driver's license automatically suspended. Glenn Churchill, Esq. & Jack Sinclaire, Esq. offer legal assistance to clients who received this type of administrative suspension.
Q: How long will a DUI conviction stay on my record?
A: A DUI conviction in South Carolina will stay on your criminal record forever. You may lose your job and your insurance rates will skyrocket. In addition, your driver's license will be suspended. A future DUI conviction will be much more costly. However, an attorney can investigate your case, and you may have a valid defense. Your case might be dismissed or you might be able to plead to a lesser charge without all of the horrible consequences of a DUI/DUAC conviction.
Q: Is my license suspended once I am arrested for DUI or DUAC?
A: Only if you refused the breathalyzer test, or your result was 0.15 or above. You can continue to drive after your arrest for DUI or DUAC. Your license will not be suspended unless you are actually convicted of drunk driving.
Q: What can I do if my license was suspended when I was arrested for DUI?
A: In South Carolina, your drivers license can be suspended prior to conviction under limited circumstances. You can appeal this suspension, but you must act quickly. The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the arrest date. At Glenn Churchill, Esq. & Jack Sinclaire, Esq. we handle all of the paperwork for the appeal and represent you at the suspension hearing. We do not charge any extra for this service.