DUI Defense Lawyer in Conway, SC

DUI defense in South Carolina is a complex and specialized area of law that includes the defense of driving under the influence (DUI) charges, driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC), and felony DUI with death or with great bodily injury.

A DUI charge in South Carolina also may result in an administrative license suspension unless you act immediately following your arrest.

A successful DUI defense requires an understanding of a variety of scientific issues and how they intersect with the legal issues that may be found in each case.

A DUI defense practitioner must be able to identify and challenge common legal issues such as Fourth Amendment search and seizure violations, probable cause, Miranda violations, and denial of counsel issues, as well as DUI-specific legal issues such as suppression of blood or breath test results, suppression or redaction of dash cam videos, and suppression of field sobriety test results.

An effective DUI defense lawyer must understand not only the legal issues specific to DUI defense in SC but also the science of driving under the influence cases. In DUI cases, the legal issues often intersect with and require expertise in scientific areas such as anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, and toxicology.

A DUI defense lawyer must understand the operation of breath testing equipment, how blood samples are analyzed in a forensics lab, and how to argue for the exclusion of the BAC results or dismissal of the charges for noncompliance with SC law.

DUI defense lawyer in Conway, SC

South Carolina DUI Defense

How Can a DUI Defense Lawyer Help?

When you call Johnny Gardner Law, your DUI defense attorney will:

  • Meet with you to learn about your case,
  • Request a jury trial if your case is in the magistrate or municipal court (in some cases, your attorney may appear at the initial court date on your behalf before requesting a jury trial),
  • Obtain all videos and evidence in the prosecutor’s possession with discovery motions,
  • Move to compel the production of any evidence the prosecutor withholds,
  • Gather exculpatory evidence using subpoenas, FOIA requests, and witness interviews as appropriate,
  • Locate and interview any potential sobriety witnesses,
  • Download and analyze reports from SLED’s online database regarding the machine you were tested on and the officer who operated the machine,
  • Identify legal issues in your case and research the law as applied to your circumstances,
  • Draft, file, and argue any appropriate pretrial motions to suppress evidence or to dismiss the DUI charges,
  • Negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to achieve your goals in your case, and
  • Try your case to a jury when the charges are not dismissed or resolved favorably.

Pretrial Motions and Jury Trials

By arguing motions pre-trial, a DUI defense attorney may be able to win a dismissal of your charges before trial begins or suppress key evidence that the prosecutor would have used at trial.

When pre-trial motions fail, your DUI lawyer must have the skill and knowledge required to present your case to jurors, attack the field sobriety tests, challenge blood and breath test results, and set up potential appeal issues in the event you need to take your case to a higher court.

Your attorney must have the skill and knowledge to cross-examine police officers and the prosecution’s expert witnesses such as toxicologists. Your attorney must know when to use defense expert witnesses and when to advise you to testify in your defense.

SC’s Mandatory Videotape Law

South Carolina’s mandatory videotape law, found in SC Code Section 56-5-2953, says that the arresting officer must record a DUI suspect’s conduct at the incident site and the breath testing site, including:

  • Any field sobriety tests administered,
  • The person’s arrest,
  • Miranda rights being read to the suspect, and
  • The entire breath testing procedure, including the person being informed that they are being recorded and that they have the right to refuse the test, the actions of the suspect and the breath test operator, and the 20-minute pre-test waiting period.

If the officer did not comply with the videotape requirements, unless there is a valid affidavit that provides a legal justification for the failure to produce a complete videotape, the DUI charges should be dismissed under City of Rock Hill v. Suchenski and subsequent cases.

Implied Consent/ Driver’s License Suspensions

If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test (you should, in most cases), your driver’s license will be suspended under SC’s implied consent laws. If you take the test, and the result is .15 or greater, your driver’s license will still be suspended.

In either case, you must request an implied consent hearing/ DUI administrative hearing within 30 days of your arrest. If you do not request the hearing, or if you lose the hearing, your license will remain suspended, you will need to enroll in ADSAP, and you may have an ignition interlock device (IID) requirement before you can drive again.

FAQ About SC DUI Defense

Can You Get My DUI Charges Reduced?

If you are charged with DUI 2nd, 3rd, or 4th or subsequent offense in General Sessions Court, your DUI charges could be reduced to a DUI 1st offense and remanded to the lower court.

In most cases, however, a “reduction” of DUI charges actually means a “rewrite” of the charges to another traffic offense that does not result in a license suspension, ADSAP, ignition interlock requirements, jail time, and a permanent record for driving under the influence that cannot be expunged.

Will My DUI Charges Go to Trial?

Most DUI cases in Horry County do not go to trial.

Your attorney must investigate your case, research the legal issues, file any appropriate pretrial motions, and be willing and able to try your case to a jury, however, before your case is likely to be dismissed or the prosecutor is likely to agree to a favorable resolution.

And, in some cases, you will be faced with the choice of a plea to DUI or a jury trial. Whether your case goes to trial is always the client’s choice, but you are well-advised to retain an attorney who has trial experience in DUI cases.

Can You Get My DUI Charges Dismissed?

We get many DUI and DUAC charges dismissed on behalf of our clients, others have been reduced or rewritten to a minor traffic offense as part of plea negotiations, and we have won acquittals at trial for other clients.

We cannot guarantee a result in any particular case, however – the outcome will depend on the unique circumstances of your case, including whether the officer made mistakes during the arrest, whether the videotape of the arrest is complete, your performance on the videotape, whether there were any alleged victims in the incident, and our ability to get the videotape or BAC results excluded at your trial.

What is a DUI Defense Lawyer?

A DUI defense lawyer is an attorney who represents people accused of driving under the influence. That attorney might also handle other criminal offenses, personal injury matters, workers’ compensation, and other types of cases, and still call themselves a DUI defense attorney.

We recommend that you find a DUI attorney who only practices DUI law or who has devoted a significant percentage of their practice to DUI defense, however, because these are the attorneys who have the experience you need to maximize your chances of success.

If you are charged with DUI, don’t hire a real estate lawyer to represent you…