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Charleston DUI Law Blog

Drugged driving and drunk driving have a lot in common

The fairly recent news of Tiger Woods' arrest brings up some important points that everyone should know about drunk driving charges. Many people think that someone who is arrested for drunk driving went out on a drinking binge and then made the irresponsible decision to get behind the wheel. This isn't necessarily the case.

In some instances, a person can be arrested for drunk driving based off of using prescription medications. Certain prescriptions have the possibility of impairing your cognitive and mental capabilities in a manner that is similar to alcohol. When you take these medications and then drive, you might be driving impaired without even realizing it.

Weigh your options regarding breath test refusal

We recently discussed the penalties that you face if you refuse to take a breath test during a traffic stop for suspicion of drunk driving. These penalties are serious, but they are the reality that you face if you don't take the breath test. This does bring up an important point.

You do have the right to refuse the breath test; however, you might find that the penalties aren't worth the refusal. If you do refuse the breath test, there is a good chance that the law enforcement officer might be able to get a warrant to obtain the sample. This means that even though you refused, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage will likely be able to be determined anyway.

Refusing a breath test comes with steep penalties

Refusing a breath test when you are pulled over for drunk driving is your right. This doesn't mean that refusal comes without a consequence. In fact, the implied consent law means that when you got your driver's license, you agreed to take breath tests when one was requested or else you would face penalties.

South Carolina has very strict laws when it comes to breath test refusal. On a first offense, you face a six month driver's license suspension. The second and third refusals come with indefinite suspensions.

Know the reasons you need to hire a drunk driving attorney

People usually try to save money wherever they can. When it comes to criminal cases, you don't want to shortchange your defense just to save a few dollars. The issue here is that you will usually get what you pay for when it comes to defense cases.

This isn't to say that you have to find the most expensive lawyer. Instead, you need someone to represent you who can do what they can do to either develop a strategy that will end with a not guilty verdict or find one that will minimize the penalties that you have to deal with.

Learn what you can do to protect yourself in a drunk driving case

We recently discussed how field sobriety tests impact your drunk driving case. This isn't the only thing that can impact the case. In fact, everything that you do leading up to the traffic stop through the final disposition of your case can have an impact on what happens.

We know that you might not realize what kind of impact your actions can have on your case. If you are truly intoxicated, you might not be able to think clearly about the future. This is only human, so you shouldn't feel bad about it.

Defense options based on field sobriety test interpretations

As we discussed previously, standardized field sobriety tests encompass three components. One of these is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. In this test, the officer looks at how the person's eyes track an object. Because the test is based on subjective interpretation, there might be issues with the final result that is noted for the test.

We know that there are several things that might impact the way the officer interprets the test. A person who has vision problems and those who are subjected to bright headlights from oncoming vehicles or the flashing lights from the police cruiser might not pass the test even if he or she is sober because of the way those factors impact the function of the eyes.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is used in DUI stops

When you are pulled over for the suspicion of drunk driving, you might be asked to complete a field sobriety test. The standardized version of this test includes three components. One of the components is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This test uses the movements of your eyes to clue the officer conducting the test into whether you are intoxicated or not.

During this test, the officer will tell you to follow an object. This is usually a finger or an ink pen. While you are following the object, the officer is watching for abnormal, jerky twitches in your eyes as they track the object.

Find the focal point of the prosecution's case to plan a defense

The penalties of a drunk driving conviction should spur you to take action from the second that you know you will be facing these charges. There isn't any reason to think that you need to just sit back and take things without any fight. We know that you might not know where you should start for your defense. We are here to help you along the way.

One thing that you have to think about when you are planning a defense is how the prosecution will present the case. Think about what the focal point of their case will be. You then take the focal point and try to cast doubt onto the claims. This can mean that you raise questions about how the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) result might not be accurate. It could mean that you question when the sample was taken, how it was taken or the way it was processed.

Could your job be in jeopardy following a DUI conviction?

A DUI conviction in South Carolina carries serious legal consequences, and it can also affect your life in other negative ways. For example, U.S. News recently reported about a police officer who lost his job due to a DUI while on the job. He was just released from jail on bond, not actually convicted of the DUI, but he was fired anyway. 

Take a look at some of the ways a DUI conviction might affect your employment: 

Drunk driving charges have severe penalties

When you are out drinking, you know that you need to find a designated driver to get you home. Unfortunately, this isn't always possible so you might choose to take a shot at making it home safely. This isn't always the way that things happen.

There is a chance that you will be involved in a drunk driving accident on your way home. If this is what happens, you might find that you are in some serious legal trouble.

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