You were having a great night out with friends, but you know that you cannot drive while you are drunk. You stick with having two beers. However, James, one of your friends felt that he needed for double Bourbons. James also did some drugs, to have a “better” experience. Afterward, you both drove home in your own cars. Unfortunately, you both got stopped at a driver license checkpoint. James got booked for a DUI in Myrtle Beach, and you were let go. The officer says to you that you are lucky; if it was any other time then he would have booked you for a DUAC.
What is a DUI?
Driving under the influence is a broad concept. According to the South Carolina state laws, there are three instances when a driver can be booked for a DUI in Myrtle Beach. The first is when the driver is driving under the influence of alcohol to such an extent that the driver’s ability to drive is substantially and noticeably impaired. Secondly, the driver is under the influence of any other drug or a mixture of drugs or substances that the driver’s ability to drive is substantially and noticeably impaired. Thirdly, driving under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol to such an extent that the driver’s ability to drive is considerably and strikingly impaired.
What is a DUAC?
A DUAC is very similar to a DUI. Driving with unlawful alcohol concentration is analogous to that of a DUI. However, this is only when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above 0.8% or more. Keep in mind that this can be tested either with a breathalyzer test or with a blood test.
At what level of intoxication can I be arrested for a DUI in Myrtle Beach?
Arresting a driver for a DUI in Myrtle Beach is a bit easier to do than for a DUAC. There are three levels that your BAC can be. The first is that your BAC is 0.5% or less. This is considered as not under the influence, and it is deemed that your driving ability will not be compromised in any way.
Secondly, the BAC can be more than 0.5% but less than 0.8%. This level can be seen as not drunk if a driver passes all the sobriety tests that a law enforcement officer administers on the scene. If a driver does not pass these tests, then you can be arrested for a DUI.
Thirdly is then the BAC is higher than 0.8%. A law enforcement officer administers the breathalyzer test, and that is the BAC, then according to law, the driver is driving under the influence and that the driver’s ability to drive is severely compromised.
You can be immediately arrested if your BAC is great than 0.8%. When you BAC is between 0.5% and 0.8%, and you fail the sobriety tests, then you can also be arrested.
The sobriety tests usually involve a series of tests that include reciting the alphabet, walking on a straight line, standing on one leg and walking toe-to-toe. If you were driving recklessly like weaving through traffic, driving off the road completely and swaying between lanes, you are considered to be drunk. This shows that you were not able to maintain control of your vehicle and thus to endanger yourself and other road users. When you are pulled over, and you show signs of intoxication, then you can also be arrested. These symptoms usually include slurred speech, strong smell of alcohol, unable to walk properly, staggering and red, bloodshot eyes.
In severe cases, you will be taken for a blood test to determine the BAC. It is critical to remember that the police must administer the test within two hours of arrest. It is the same time frame for a breathalyzer test.
When can I be pulled over for a DUI in Myrtle Beach?
You can be pulled over anytime for a routine inspection. When you are pulled over, and the officer suspects that you are drunk, you can be asked to get out of the car and perform the field sobriety tests. When you are stopped at a routine license check or road block, you can also be asked to do the field sobriety tests.
If you are driving recklessly, you can also be pulled over and tested for a DUI in Myrtle Beach. If you are stopped at a routine driver’s license checkpoint or road block, you cannot be arrested for a DUAC. This basically means that you cannot be prosecuted for a DUAC in these instances.
What happens after I get arrested for a DUI in Myrtle Beach?
It is always a good idea to contact your lawyer after you were arrested for a DUI of DUAC. In South Carolina, the punishment for these two is pretty much the same. And it will never be removed from your record. You must get the best possible representation to get you the lightest sentence possible or even not get you convicted at all.
In South Carolina, the prosecutor must show that your driving ability was substantially and noticeably impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two, to be able to prosecute you for a DUI. For conviction of a DUAC, they must prove that you were driving with a BAC of higher than 0.8%.
For the first two convictions for a DUI, it is considered as a misdemeanor. There is a mandatory six-month license suspension, even if it is a misdemeanor. It is possible to apply for an ignition interlock device to be fitted in your car. It is usually possible after you have served a certain amount of time of your suspension. Your lawyer will be able to assist you with this. This device must be considered when you need your car for work, driving your kids to school or when you need to drive to a drug or alcohol treatment facility.
There is also mandatory prison time. If your BAC is between 0.8% and 0.10%, the mandatory prison time is between two and thirty days. For a BAC of between 0.10% and 0.16%, the prison time is between three and thirty days. When the BAC is above 0.16%, then the driver faces prison time of minimum thirty days up to ninety days.
When you are a first-time offender, the prison time can be avoided by doing some community service. The fines for a DUI or DUAC are between $400 and $1000 depending on your BAC. Keep in mind that the fine is not the only cost that is involved.
What happens after my arrest and conviction?
In South Carolina, you are forced to take out the expensive insurance on the R-22 form from the DMV. You must also pay to have your license reinstated and renewed after your sentence.
If you have an ignition interlock device fitted, those costs are also for your own pocket. It is anywhere between $40 and a $100 for the device, and then there is a monthly service fee as well.
Your conviction for a DUI will haunt you for at ten years, which means that the DUI will influence all subsequent arrests and convictions during that time frame.
Do I need a lawyer for a DUI in Myrtle Beach?
Considering the long-term impact, a DUI or DUAC conviction will have on you; then it is a good idea to get an experienced lawyer. Remember that this conviction will never be removed from your record, for every single job you apply or run in you have with the law this will come back and haunt you.
When you hire a lawyer in Myrtle Beach, ensure that they are experienced in the field of DUI and DUAC. Their experience of the system will have a great impact on your conviction and sentence. The lawyer will have your best interest at heart and will fight to ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your case. Even if it is a misdemeanor offense, having the professional help of a lawyer will be beneficial.
David Aylor is a Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Charleston, Walterboro, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 11 years. David Aylor believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.