What Are Your Legal Rights After Being Charged with DUI?
Attorney Matt Bodman will provide the representation you need
In recent years, the state of South Carolina has taken steps to really crack down on drunk drivers. Nevertheless, you still have rights under the law. Here are some key things to know if you're facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI).
- You have the right to refuse a test. South Carolina is an "implied consent" state, which means that if you are lawfully arrested by a police officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been drinking and driving, he or she can test your blood, breath and urine. Refusing to test carries with it a mandatory license suspension.
- You have the right to have the test recorded. Lawfully, the officer needs to turn on a video camera, tell you your rights and the penalties if you refuse to be tested, and give you those rights and penalties in writing as well.
- You have the right to appeal your license suspension. Once you have applied for an administrative hearing for your license suspension, you can apply for a temporary alcohol restricted license, which allows you to drive everywhere in South Carolina while awaiting your hearing.
- You have the right to apply for a special restricted license. If you work or are enrolled at a college or university, you can apply for a special restricted license that only allows you to drive to or from work or school. There are certain criteria that need to be met to qualify - for instance, you need to be enrolled in an approved alcohol treatment program.
- You have the right to a trial. As with any criminal charge, you have the right to fight DUI charges in court. In general, DUI cases are first handled through a bench trial, presented before a judge, and then a full trial in front of a jury if you ask for a jury trial.
- You have a right to see all the evidence. Whether it helps you or hurts you, you can file a motion with the court to force prosecutors to turn over all the evidence they have. This is known as discovery, and it's as useful for what it does not reveal - for instance, a video in which you're shown not staggering or slurring your words - as for what it does.
- You have the right to an attorney. Unlike many traffic offenses, which may be worth handling without an attorney, DUI cases are serious enough that you should invest in legal representation. An experienced defense attorney can find the evidence that leads to the charges being dismissed or reduced, or to a not guilty verdict at trial.
Protect your legal rights after your DUI charge. Hire a skilled DUI defense attorney who knows how to get results. Contact Matt Bodman, P.A., today and schedule your free case evaluation. Call (866) 487-9077.