Defenses to Driving Under the Influence Charges

January 29, 2019

Getting convicted of a DUI can have long-lasting effects. You will likely lose your driver’s license, may have to install an ignition interlock device on your car, and will have a criminal record that may affect your employment and other aspects of your day-to-day life.

However, there is good news, too. South Carolina driving under the influence laws are complex and there are plenty of defenses to DUI charges. A case may be dismissed if an officer failed to follow the law, and sometimes evidence may be suppressed before trial.

Defenses to South Carolina DUI Charges

In addition to defenses that are specific to DUI charges, there may also be general defenses that are not specifically related to a DUI. Some of these common defenses could result in an acquittal at trial or a dismissal. Defenses may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The police officer didn’t have probable cause to stop you.
  • The police officer didn’t have probable cause to arrest for DUI.
  • The police officer didn’t comply with South Carolina’s mandatory provisions for DUI including videotaping the scene at the vehicle and activity in the breathalyzer room.
  • The police officer failed to follow policy and procedure for field sobriety tests.
  • You weren’t driving the vehicle.
  • You weren’t impaired enough to substantially and materially impair your driving ability.

Probable Cause for a Traffic Stop and Arrest for DUI

In most cases, driving under the influence arrest is made following a traffic stop. A police officer will have to show that there was an actual traffic violation and probable cause for the traffic stop, even if it was for a violation other than a DUI. Common traffic violations that lead to arrests for DUI may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Speeding
  • Driving with faulty headlights or tail lights, especially at night
  • Swerving
  • Failing to stop at a stoplight or stop sign
  • Failing to come to a complete stop, or performing a “rolling stop” at a stop sign
  • Failure to use turn signals when making a turn

Once a traffic stop has been made, an officer must have probable cause to arrest the driver for a DUI. This will often be based on the officer’s observations such as statements from the driver, the smell of alcohol, or impaired driving.

Not all DUI arrests result from stops for a traffic violation since most jurisdictions now have enforcement teams that perform no other tasks than looking for drivers that show signs of a DUI. Many departments even have programs that reward their officers for making the most arrests for DUI in their department and offer incentives such as new patrol cars.

Contact a South Carolina DUI Defense Attorney Today

If you have been charged with driving under the influence in South Carolina, you need to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. South Carolina’s DUI laws were created to protect drivers from police officers that overreach the laws. The attorneys at David Aylor Law Offices can investigate your charges and help craft the best possible defense strategy for your situation. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

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