Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm

DUI Overview

When it comes to tackling the intricacies of DUI cases in South Carolina, look no further than Thompson & Hiller as your trusted advocates. Armed with years of focused experience in South Carolina DUI law, we deliver unmatched legal representation across the spectrum of DUI-related issues. From first-time offenses to aggravated DUI cases involving additional complexities, our devoted team is steadfast in crafting personalized legal solutions uniquely designed for the circumstances of each client. Opt for Thompson & Hiller for your DUI defense in South Carolina, and benefit from the unparalleled legal opinion that tilts the scales of justice to your advantage.

Initial Consultation

Attorney meets with the client to discuss the details of the case

Investigation & Evidence Gathering

Collecting all relevant evidence, talking to witnesses, and reviewing police reports and other documents

Pre-Trial & Negotiations

Defense can negotiate with the prosecution for plea deals or even get some charges dropped

Trial & Beyond

Defense attorney represents the client in court, presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and making closing arguments

Law and Justice
Court House
CourtHouse Exterior

1st, 2nd, 3rd Offense

DUAC vs DUI

Breath Tests

Legal Ramifications

Blood Tests

Field Sobriety

DMV Hearings

Open Container Laws

State v. K.C., February 2021: K.C. was charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The charge was dismissed before trial

State v. K.Y., January 2018: K.Y. was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) 2nd offense in Myrtle Beach. The charge was remanded as a DUI 1st offense at the preliminary hearing. Once remanded, the charge was dismissed before trial

State v. P.D., May 2016: P.D. was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) four times within a year. Three out of the four DUIs were dismissed

State v. S.T., March 2015: S.T. was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Myrtle Beach. The charge was dismissed before trial

What Are the Consequences of a DUI Conviction in South Carolina?

How Can Thompson & Hiller Help Fight My DUI Charges?

What Is the Legal Blood Alcohol Limit for DUI in South Carolina?

What’s the Difference Between DUI and DWI in South Carolina?

How Does a DUI Arrest Affect My Driving Record and Insurance?

DUI Convictions in South Carolina 

Dive deeper into the complexities of DUI offenses in South Carolina with our guide that breaks down the consequences and legalities of first, second, third, and fourth DUI offenses. Let Thompson & Hiller’s dedicated attorneys help you understand the escalating stakes and penalties, so you’re better prepared to navigate the legal challenges ahead.

The Consequences and Penalties of DUI Convictions in South Carolina

If you’re facing a DUI charge in South Carolina, understanding the consequences is crucial. At Thompson & Hiller, we in South Carolina DUI defense and are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of DUI laws and penalties. Here’s a comprehensive guide to what you could be up against.

The Immediate and Hidden Consequences of a DUI Conviction in South Carolina

What Most People Know

  • Jail time
  • Heavy fines and court costs

What You Might Not Know

  • License Suspension: A DUI conviction triggers mandatory license suspension.
  • License Revocation: You could be labeled a “habitual traffic offender” by the DMV.
  • ADSAP and Fees: Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program participation is often required.
  • Ignition Interlock Devices: Monitored by probation and comes with fees.
  • Skyrocketing Insurance Costs: Mandatory SR-22 insurance for at least three years.
  • Employment Risks: Potential job loss and difficulty finding new employment.
  • Educational Financial Aid: Risk of losing state or federal scholarships and grants.
  • Professional Licensing: Potential action against occupational licenses.
  • Travel Restrictions: Some countries may deny entry.
  • Permanent Criminal Record: DUI convictions are non-expungeable in South Carolina.

First Offense DUI Penalties in SC

BAC < .10: Minimum 48 hours in jail or community service, up to 30 days in jail.

BAC .10 – .15: Minimum 72 hours in jail or community service, up to 30 days in jail.

BAC > .16: Minimum 30 days in jail or community service, up to 90 days in jail.

Second Offense DUI Penalties in SC

BAC < .10: Minimum 5 days to 1 year in prison.

BAC .10 – .15: Minimum 30 days to 2 years in prison.

BAC > .16: Minimum 90 days to 3 years in prison.

Third Offense DUI Penalties in SC

BAC < .10: Minimum 60 days to 3 years in prison.

BAC .10 – .15: Minimum 90 days to 4 years in prison.

BAC > .16: Minimum 6 months to 5 years in prison.

Fourth or Subsequent Offense DUI Penalties in SC

BAC < .10: Minimum 1 year to 5 years in prison.

BAC .10 – .15: Minimum 2 years to 6 years in prison.

BAC > .16: Minimum 3 years to 7 years in prison.

Felony DUI Penalties in SC

Resulting in great bodily injury: Minimum 30 days to 15 years in prison.

Resulting in death: Minimum 1 year to 25 years in prison.

First Offense DUI

Being charged with a DUI for the first time can be a bewildering and frightening experience. Understanding the legal landscape is crucial to navigating this challenging situation. At Thompson & Hiller, we are seasoned in defending clients against first offense DUI charges in Columbia, SC. In this guide, we will walk you through the essential aspects of a first offense DUI in South Carolina, from what it entails to real-life examples and common cases we encounter.

What is a First Offense DUI?

In South Carolina, a first offense DUI is characterized by driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. It’s essential to know that even if your BAC is below 0.08%, you can still be charged if your ability to operate a vehicle safely is impaired.

Examples and Common Cases

At Thompson & Hiller, we’ve defended a variety of clients against first offense DUI charges. Common cases often involve routine traffic stops that escalate into DUI investigations due to observed impairment or the smell of alcohol. In other situations, clients have faced DUI charges following an accident where officers suspected alcohol or drug involvement.

Penalties and Consequences

The penalties for a first offense DUI in South Carolina can vary depending on the circumstances, such as your BAC level at the time of the arrest. Generally, penalties may include a fine ranging from $400 to $1,000, imprisonment for 48 hours up to 90 days, and suspension of your driver’s license. Additionally, you may be required to attend an alcohol and drug safety action program.

Why Choose Thompson & Hiller?

We bring a comprehensive understanding of South Carolina DUI laws and a personalized approach to your defense. Our attorneys scrutinize every aspect of your case, from the legality of the initial traffic stop to the administration of field sobriety tests and breathalyzer procedures. By identifying any errors or rights violations, we strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Conclusion

A first offense DUI in South Carolina is a serious matter that requires immediate and legal assistance. With Thompson & Hiller at your side, you’ll have the legal guidance you need to navigate the complexities of DUI laws in Columbia, SC. Whether you are local or were visiting the state, our seasoned lawyers can provide the robust defense you need against a first offense DUI charge.

To get started on your defense, contact Thompson & Hiller today for a free consultation. With your future on the line, don’t settle for anything less than our skilled legal advice and representation.

Second Offense DUI

Introduction

Facing a DUI charge is unsettling, but when it’s your second offense, the stakes are significantly higher. In this challenging situation, knowledgeable legal guidance is crucial. Thompson & Hiller has the skillset in defending clients against second offense DUI charges in Columbia, SC. This comprehensive guide aims to clarify what a second offense DUI entails, along with examples of typical cases and how they are handled by our firm.

Understanding a Second Offense DUI

In South Carolina, a second offense DUI is a subsequent charge following a previous DUI conviction. The laws are stringent and designed to discourage repeat offenses. You could face a second offense DUI if you are caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher again or if your driving is impaired due to alcohol or drugs, regardless of BAC.

Typical Scenarios and Cases

Thompson & Hiller has dealt with a range of cases involving second offense DUI charges. Often, these cases include individuals who are pulled over for a minor traffic violation, only to be subjected to a DUI investigation due to signs of impairment or the smell of alcohol. Another frequent scenario involves clients charged with a DUI following an accident where authorities have reason to suspect alcohol or drug influence.

Penalties and Legal Consequences

The penalties for a second offense DUI in South Carolina are more severe than a first offense. These can include a fine ranging from $2,100 to $6,500, imprisonment for a minimum of 5 days up to 3 years, and a one-year driver’s license suspension. Moreover, you may be required to complete an alcohol treatment program and install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Conclusion

A second offense DUI in South Carolina is not a matter to be taken lightly. With elevated penalties and long-term implications, you need a seasoned legal team by your side. At Thompson & Hiller, you’ll find the legal advice and representation required to navigate these daunting legal challenges effectively.

For tailored, high-quality legal defense against second offense DUI charges, contact Thompson & Hiller today for a free consultation. With so much at stake, you can’t afford to go it alone—let our attorneys guide you through this complicated process.

Third Offense DUI

A third DUI charge takes the seriousness of the matter to an entirely new level, bringing with it escalated penalties and far-reaching consequences. If you find yourself facing a third DUI offense in Columbia, SC, having legal assistance is indispensable. Thompson & Hiller is here to support you with this crucial guide that elaborates on what a third offense DUI means, as well as offering case examples and solutions tailored to your needs.

The Nature of a Third Offense DUI

A third offense DUI in South Carolina involves being arrested for driving under the influence for the third time, either with a BAC of 0.08% or higher or displaying visible signs of impairment due to drugs or alcohol. The laws are highly stringent, with zero tolerance for repeat offenders.

Recurring Situations and Case Examples

Our team at Thompson & Hiller has managed a spectrum of third offense DUI cases. Frequently, these are situations where clients were initially pulled over for another driving violation and later subjected to DUI scrutiny due to either an odor of alcohol or observable signs of impairment. Others have faced charges after being involved in a collision where law enforcement suspected substance abuse.

Legal Ramifications and Penalties

Third offense DUI penalties in South Carolina are exceptionally severe, intending to act as a significant deterrent. Fines may range between $3,800 and $10,000, along with imprisonment for a minimum of 60 days up to 5 years. You can also expect a two-year suspension of your driver’s license, mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program, and the likely installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.

Final Thoughts

Facing a third offense DUI in South Carolina is a dire circumstance that necessitates legal intervention. Thompson & Hiller are committed to providing you with the most effective defense strategies, honed by years of experience in DUI law.

To take the first step in your defense, schedule a free consultation with Thompson & Hiller. With your future hanging in the balance, you need a law firm that’s committed to fighting for your rights and mitigating the repercussions of a third DUI offense.

FOURTH Offense (Or Subsequentially) DUI

If you are facing a fourth or subsequent DUI charge, you are entering highly precarious legal territory with potentially life-altering consequences. In such situations, the role of qualified legal representation cannot be overstated. Thompson & Hiller is dedicated to defending clients against multiple DUI offenses in Columbia, SC. This guide is designed to shed light on the unique complexities of a fourth or subsequent DUI offense, and how we can assist you during this trying time.

What Constitutes a Fourth or Subsequent DUI?

Being charged with a fourth or subsequent DUI in South Carolina signifies that you have had three or more prior DUI convictions. The charge can occur either due to a BAC of 0.08% or higher or by displaying noticeable impairment from alcohol, drugs, or both. Given the recurrent nature of these offenses, South Carolina law is exceptionally stringent.

Frequent Scenarios and Illustrative Cases

At Thompson & Hiller, we have successfully managed numerous cases involving multiple DUI offenses. Typically, these cases often start with a routine traffic stop but quickly escalate to a DUI investigation due to observed signs of intoxication or impairment. In some instances, clients have been charged following accidents where there’s reasonable suspicion of alcohol or drug use.

Penalties You Could Face

The repercussions for a fourth or subsequent DUI offense in South Carolina are profoundly severe. Penalties can include fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, coupled with a mandatory imprisonment term that can extend from one to seven years. Furthermore, a conviction at this stage may lead to the permanent revocation of your driver’s license, along with alcohol treatment programs and potentially an ignition interlock device, should you ever regain driving privileges.

Why Opt for Thompson & Hiller?

A fourth or subsequent DUI offense requires unparalleled proficiency in the nuances of South Carolina DUI law. Thompson & Hiller conducts an exhaustive review of your case—from the reason for your initial stop to the procedures followed during your arrest—to identify any possible avenues for your defense. We are committed to securing the most advantageous outcome, given the severe nature of the charges you face.

Conclusion

A fourth or subsequent DUI charge in South Carolina is incredibly grave, demanding immediate and experienced legal assistance. Thompson & Hiller offer the legal support necessary to confront the intricacies of recurrent DUI offenses.

If you are grappling with such severe charges, don’t delay in seeking legal help. Contact Thompson & Hiller today for a free consultation. When the stakes are this high, you need a law firm that is adept at navigating the complexities of South Carolina’s DUI laws and committed to defending your rights.

Understanding DUI in South Carolina

Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most commonly understood traffic offenses, not just in South Carolina but across the United States. In South Carolina, you can be charged with a DUI if you are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, to the extent that your faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired. Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels of 0.08% or higher can serve as evidence, but a DUI charge can also rely on the officer’s observations, such as slurred speech, erratic driving, or failed field sobriety tests.

DUAC in South Carolina?

Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) is a charge that is specific to South Carolina. Unlike a DUI, a DUAC charge does not require evidence of impairment. Rather, if you are operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you can be charged with DUAC, regardless of whether your driving skills appear to be impaired. Essentially, the mere presence of a BAC above the legal limit is sufficient for a DUAC charge.

Comparing DUI and DUAC

At first glance, DUI and DUAC charges may seem similar, but there are crucial differences between the two. DUI charges hinge on proving that your ability to operate a vehicle was significantly impaired, which can involve subjective judgment based on the arresting officer’s observations. DUAC, on the other hand, is more objective and solely relies on your BAC level. For example, consider two scenarios: in the first, a person is swerving and showing clear signs of impairment but has a BAC of 0.07%; they could be charged with a DUI. In the second scenario, a person is pulled over for speeding, shows no signs of impairment, but has a BAC of 0.09%; they could be charged with DUAC.

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