If you have been charged with driving while under the influence (DUI) in South Carolina, you probably feel overwhelmed by the potential penalties and the uncertainty associated with how the legal process will play out. The legal system can be confusing and complex. This causes many to wonder whether their case will go to trial. Keep reading to learn what factors may influence whether your DUI case goes to trial and discover how a seasoned Chesterfield County DUI Lawyer can help you navigate this legal process.
What factors could impact whether my DUI case proceeds to trial in South Carolina?
When charged with DUI, several factors could affect whether your case proceeds to a trial. However, the main factor that influences whether your case proceeds to a trial is whether you plead guilty or not guilty. Ultimately, whether a trial will take place depends on how you plead to the alleged charges.
If you plead guilty, there is no need for a trial as you are accepting the charges brought against you. On the other hand, if you plead not guilty, claiming you are innocent, your DUI case will proceed to a trial where the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to the judge and jury. DUIs are classified as misdemeanor criminal offenses. This means anyone that is accused of DUI has a right to a jury trial.
What are the potential penalties?
In South Carolina, if you operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater, you will be charged with DUI. South Carolina carries harsh penalties for DUI, including license revocation, installation of an ignition interlock device, an array of fines, and even jail time.
If this is your first offense, with a BAC of less than 0.10%, you may be subject to a $500 fine, 6-month license revocation, and up to 30 days of jail time. If your BAC was 0.16% or higher, you will face more severe penalties, including a $1,000 fine, 6-month license revocation, and up to 90 days of jail time.
If this is your second offense, with a BAC of less than 0.10%, you will face a $5,100 fine, 1-year license revocation, and up to 1 year of jail time. If your BAC was more than 0.16%, you will face a $6,500 fine, 1-year license revocation, and up to 3 years of jail time.
If this is your third offense with a BAC of less than 0.10%, you will face a $6,300 fine, put to 4 years of license revocation, and up to 3 years of jail time. A BAC higher than 0.16% will result in a $10,000 fine, up to 4 years of license revocation, and up to 5 years of jail time.
If this is your fourth or subsequent DUI offense with a BAC less than 0.10%, you will face permanent driver’s license revocation and up to 5 years of jail time. A BAC higher than 0.16% will result in permanent driver’s license revocation and up to 7 years of jail time.
DUIs are serious criminal offenses that carry strict penalties that will haunt you for the rest of your life. To prevent harsh penalties, it is critical to hire appropriate legal representation. If you have been charged with DUI, please contact a determined Chesterfield County DUI lawyer. Our firm will work tirelessly to help you fight charges brought against you. Allow our firm to defend your rights and interests today!