Frequently Asked Questions

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Is it illegal to drink alcoholic beverages and drive in South Carolina?

NO. In South Carolina, it is legal to consume alcoholic beverages and then drive a vehicle. To be convicted of DUI, a judge or jury must unanimously be convinced beyond every reasonable doubt that your ability to drive was both materially and appreciably impaired by excessive alcohol consumption. Mere proof of a person’s consumption of alcoholic beverages is not enough for a DUI conviction.

If I register over .08 on the Breathalyzer test, am I automatically guilty of DUI?

NO. The Breathalyzer reading is simply a piece of evidence a judge or jury can consider during the trial of the case. Our office is familiar with issues related to the Breathalyzer machine that may prohibit a reading from being received as evidence during a trial. Under the South Carolina 2009 DUI Reform Act, penalties, potential incarceration or jail time, and fines have been increased based on the breath test results.

Is it my legal right to refuse to take the field sobriety test?

Yes. An officer may be reluctant to advise you of this right, but you do not have to take field sobriety tests.

Is it my legal right to refuse to take the Breathalyzer test?

Yes. However, a refusal can result in a six month administrative suspension, but we can help restore your driving privileges. You must act quickly, however, as time constraints are in place.

Do I have the right to remain silent when I am stopped for or investigated for DUI?

Yes. Any person who is the subject of a criminal investigation has the right to remain silent at all times.

If I am stopped for DUI, am I being video and audio recorded?

Yes. South Carolina has a mandatory videotaping law and everything you say and do from the time you are pulled over until the process is complete is being video and audio recorded.

How can I get a license to drive if it was seized or forfeited during my arrest?

You must request an administrative hearing within thirty days of your arrest and apply for a temporary license. Contact our office. We will walk you through the process.

How serious is a DUI charge? It was written on the same type of blue ticket as speeding tickets.

Under the South Carolina 2009 DUI Reform Act, the consequences of a DUI in South Carolina are some of the strongest in the nation. Penalties and potential jail time have drastically increased. Repeat offenders can face mandatory jail time, as well as mandatory ignition interlock devices being placed on their vehicles for at least two years.

What is the punishment for a DUI conviction?

For first-time offenders:

  • Fines ranging from $400-1,000, plus court costs, depending on Breathalyzer reading (BAC)

  • 48 hours to 90 days in jail

  • Immediate surrender of your driver’s license to the court

  • Mandatory completion of a state sponsored alcohol counseling course (if you wish to drive legally again)

  • Filing proof of high risk insurance (SR22) with the state for three years (if you wish to drive legally again)

  • Six month suspension of your license.

For a second offense:

  • Five days to three years in jail

  • One year suspension of driver’s license

  • A fine of $2,100 to $6,500

  • Filing proof of high risk insurance (SR22) with the state for three years (if you wish to drive legally again)

  • Vehicle immobilization required

  • Mandatory ignition interlock device for at least two years.

For a third offense:

  • Sixty days to five years prison term

  • Fines ranging from around $3,800 to $6,000 (no suspension to less than $2,100)

  • License suspended for two years, unless preceding DUI was within a five year window, which will result in a four year suspension;

  • Motor vehicle forfeited

  • Vehicle immobilization required

  • Mandatory Ignition interlock device for at least three years

  • Filing proof of high risk insurance (SR22) with the state for three years (if you wish to drive legally again)

  • A DUI conviction stays on your criminal record forever, and can be used against you for ten years for punishment enhancement if you are charged again.

What are the "non-judicial" punishments for a DUI conviction?

These can include travel restrictions outside of the United States, employment difficulties regarding background checks, etc.

Can I have a lawyer to represent me in a DUI charge?

Yes. This is a serious charge. Your freedom and financial situation could change dramatically if you are convicted of a DUI. I strongly recommend that you retain an attorney experienced in DUI defense. On many occasions, there are legal defenses to a DUI charge that only an experienced DUI defense attorney can spot on your behalf. The attorney who may handle a divorce or house closing is most likely not your best option.

I was arrested/charged with DUAC. What's that?

Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) simply means the officer perceived a moving violation and a Breathalyzer result of .08 or higher was obtained. The penalties are the same as a DUI.

Can't I enroll in Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) and have this removed or expunged off my record?

No. This is not an option for a DUI or a DUAC charge.

Recent Results

June 2017

  • State v. H.D.J.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: McCormick Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a traffic collision
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. M.T.R.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Laurens County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for a traffic violation
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. S.L.C.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Laurens County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for swerving (Breath test: .20)
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. P.D.R.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Laurens County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for speeding
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Speeding”
  • State v. P.D.R.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Laurens County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped at a Traffic Safety Checkpoint
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. P.D.R.

    • Charge: DUI, Open Container
    • Court: Laurens County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for driving at an extremely low rate of speed
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client pays a fine for the “Open Container” ticket
  • State v. C.D.P.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Greenville Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a one-car accident
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. M.G.D.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Greenville Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for speeding and making an improper turn
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. F.D.H.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Greenville Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped after striking a curb and a light pole
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. D.G.M.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Greenville Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for driving without headlights at night
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. M.M.W.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Greenville Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a two-vehicle collision
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. W.M.L.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Greenville Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a three-vehicle collision (Breath test: .14)
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. C.L.T.

    • Charge: DUI, Speeding (66/45)
    • Court: Greenville Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for speeding, 66 mph in a 45 mph zone (Breath test: .15)
    • Result: DUI dismissed, Speeding dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. M.J.G.

    • Charge: DUI, Speeding (66/45)
    • Court: Fairview/Austin Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for speeding, 55 mph in a 40 mph zone
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. W.J.A.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Pickens County Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for failing to stop at a Road Check (Breath test: .16)
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. R.H.S.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Fairview/Austin Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for speeding (Breath test: .10)
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. V.R.M.

    • Charge: DUI, Endangering Service Personnel
    • Court: Chick Springs Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for driving 45 mph past a stopped police vehicle with its blue lights on
    • Result: DUI dismissed, Endangering Service Personnel dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Driving too fast for conditions”
  • State v. H.R.A.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Fairview/Austin Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for drifting over the lane dividing lines (Breath test: .18)
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Driving too fast for conditions”
  • State v. S.S.L.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Laurens County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for speeding
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives tickets for “Speeding” and “Driving too fast for conditions”
  • State v. B.R.E.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Fairview/Austin Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for a traffic violation
    • Result: DUI dismissed
  • State v. T.L.R.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Laurens County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was involved in a one-car accident (Breath test: .22)
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. K.M.M.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Fairview/Austin Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped after police received a tip about a reckless driver
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. H.S.B.

    • Charge: DUI, Speeding, Open Container
    • Court: Greer Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for speeding
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client pays a fine for “Speeding” and “Open Container” tickets
  • State v. R.E.K.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Greenville Municipal Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped for failing to stop at a red light
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. S.S.R.

    • Charge: DUI, Leaving the Scene with Personal Injuries
    • Court: Chick Springs Summary Court
    • Facts: Client was stopped after leaving the scene of a collision
    • Result: DUI dismissed, Leaving the Scene dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. M.R.S.

    • Charge: DUI 2nd offense
    • Court: Greenville Court of General Sessions
    • Facts: Client was involved in a two-vehicle collision
    • Result: DUI 2nd offense dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. R.J.L

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Laurens County Magistrate
    • Facts: Client was involved in a single car collision
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. M.S.M.

    • Charge: DUI, Simlile liossession of Marijuana
    • Court: Sliartanburg County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was stolilied for slieeding
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. L.A.L.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: Cherokee County Magistrate
    • Facts: Client was involved in a single car collision
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”
  • State v. L.R.A.

    • Charge: DUI
    • Court: liickens County Magistrate Court
    • Facts: Client was stolilied for slieeding
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Slieeding”
  • State v. D.E.C.

    • Charge: DUI 2nd
    • Court: City of Greenville
    • Facts: Client was involved two-vehicle collision
    • Result: DUI dismissed; Client receives a ticket for “Reckless Driving”

Steve Sumner

  • 112 Manly Street
  • Greenville, SC 29601
  • Phone
  • (864) 235-3834
  • Fax
  • (864) 233-8781

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