Honest Answers From Your South Carolina DUI and DUAC Defense Lawyers
When you’re faced with a major life event, you’re filled with questions and uncertainty. Get the straight answers you’re looking for from a South Carolina attorney.
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I got charged with DUI in Greer for blowing .09. The officer told me I can plead to DUAC. Isn’t pleading guilty to DUAC better than DUI?
Probably not. "DUAC" is Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration. Pleading guilty to that is basically admitting you drove with more than the so-called "legal limit" of alcohol in your system, which is .08.
Two Common Myths About South Carolina DUAC Laws:
- DUAC is not a reduced charge. The penalties for DUAC are exactly the same as DUI. Some people prefer to plea to DUAC because it “looks” better, since they can tell others they didn’t get convicted of “drunk driving.”
- DUAC does go on your criminal record, just like a DUI.
The only way I’ve ever heard a DUAC helping someone who was charged with DUI involved a case where the accused held a very high-paying job in another state. His contract provided he could be fired for a DUI. It said nothing about DUAC, since this charge is essentially unique to South Carolina. He had a totally unwinnable DUI case. Since he could plead to DUAC without losing his job, it worked for him.
This is not to say pleading to DUAC is always a bad idea. The first thing to do is hire an experienced DUI/DUAC attorney to thoroughly evaluate your case for every possible defense. An experienced defense lawyer can increase your chances of reduced charges, like reckless driving or a minor traffic violation. If an experienced DUI/DUAC lawyer tells you it’s in your best interest to plead guilty, at least you know you took your very best shot at avoiding a conviction and will still hopefully benefit from a thoroughly negotiated plea to a charge with the least possible consequences for you.
Our Attorneys Are Here To Help With Your DUI/DUAC Case
For more information on DUI cases in Spartanburg and nearby, check out our other articles on this site, including the ones below. You can also download our free report on these cases, called The Terrible Price of a DUI/DUAC Conviction and Defenses You Might Not Know About.
I got arrested for DUI in Spartanburg and the officer took my license. Why should I bother contesting it?
There are many reasons to contest your DUI/DUAC arrest suspension, called an “administrative license suspension.” The officer suspends your license on the spot for a DUI/DUAC arrest if you refuse the test or blow .15 or more. If you’re not a resident and still have your license, you’re not out of the woods. The officer can still suspend your privilege to drive in South Carolina, which gets reported to your home state’s DMV, often resulting in license suspension there.
To contest the suspension, you must request an administrative hearing within 30 days of your arrest.
Here Are the Major Reasons to Contest Your License Suspension:
- It gives you a better driver’s license option until after the hearing. Once you request an administrative hearing, you have the right to a temporary alcohol license, allowing you to drive anywhere until after the hearing. Otherwise, you’re stuck with a route-restricted license, meaning you can only drive certain places, usually work, school, and your Alcohol Drug and Safety Action Program (ADSAP).
- It could prevent you from having to take ADSAP. ADSAP is called “drunk driving school”—you have to go to classes. It’s expensive, costing from $500 to $2500 (we expect $500 for a DUI/DUAC first offense). You don’t get your regular license returned after your suspension until you’ve signed up and paid.
- It could prevent you from having to get an ignition interlock. For arrests on or after October 1, 2014, you can end this suspension if you get ignition interlock, a costly device installed in the ignition system of your car that gives you a breath alcohol test before your car will turn on. Interlock is required a minimum of three months, even if less than three months remains on the suspension when you get it. You also still have to pay for ADSAP.
- You might win! The administrative hearing requires the State to prove several things, as we have discussed in other articles on this website. The officer might be unable to prove his case. Also, officers sometimes don’t show up for these hearings. If so, your lawyer can get this part of your case dismissed.
- It’s a battle that can help win the war. The officer’s testimony at the hearing could help your trial strategy, even if you lose. The administrative hearing testimony provides a glimpse of his trial testimony, which can help your lawyer prepare ways to attack it. The real war will be the DUI/DUAC criminal trial still to come. Also, because the administrative hearing often takes place months after your arrest, the officer may not remember the details. If he overstates his case, a talented DUI/DUAC defense lawyer can inflict extreme damage in cross-examination at the criminal trial by showing his testimony doesn’t match up with the video, i.e., the truth. This would damage the officer’s credibility and could increase your chances of victory.
- Peace talks. It’s a chance to discuss reducing the criminal charge with the officer, if that’s a strategy that will help you.
If you’ve had your license suspended for a DUI/DUAC first offense for refusing the breath test or blowing .15 or over, the administrative hearing can be critical to your case defense. Doing it right, like so many other aspects of DUI/DUAC cases in Spartanburg, can be a little tricky. Because a legal deadline looms over you, you owe it to yourself to discuss requesting an administrative hearing with an experienced DUI/DUAC lawyer who regularly handles these cases.
At Holland & Usry, we don’t just limit cases to Spartanburg. We also defend DUI/DUAC cases in Cherokee, Union, or Greenville County. You can always call us at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 888.230.1841 for a free meeting or start a live chat or email right where you’re sitting. We’ll be delighted to give you a free meeting to discuss your rights and potential defenses.
For more information about South Carolina DUI/DUAC license suspensions, you can also download our free report.