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South Carolina felony DUI laws are stringent, specific

Staring down felony charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may feel incredibly intimidating. This feeling is understandable, knowing everything that is at stake in this type of criminal case. Not only are felony sentences typically harsh, but being convicted can cause a number of privileges or rights to become unavailable. For example, those who have a felony record typically cannot own firearms or vote in elections.

Although a person might feel helpless when being charged with felony-level DUI, the important thing to remember is that everyone accused of a crime has a right to launch a criminal defense. Not only that, but prosecutors may not always have an ironclad case.

Before discussing more issues surrounding drunk driving defense, it may be helpful for readers to understand exactly what constitutes a felony DUI charge in South Carolina. If the following conditions are met, state law opens the door to these serious charges:

  • The person in question must be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • The driver acts with negligence or violates traffic law.
  • The driver causes "great bodily injury" to another person.

In taking a look at the conditions that constitute felony DUI charges, law enforcement officials are likely to respond aggressively if a driver who caused a serious accident is suspected of being under the influence at the time of the crash. Of course, "great bodily injury" may seem vague, but the statute gives better definition to this term.

Further investigation into a drunk driving arrest might reveal that the conditions for felony charges were not met on one or more counts. If that is the case, then people may have the ability to reduce the charges or have them dropped entirely.

Beyond the letter of South Carolina's felony DUI law, law enforcement officials may simply not have a strong enough case to prove their accusations. For example, failure to conduct the arrest or collect evidence properly can severely weaken the case presented by prosecutors.

Of course challenging such serious charges isn't likely to be a simple task, which is why many people turn to trusted attorneys. Rather than feeling completely lost or overwhelmed, accused individuals can ensure that their rights are protected and they are being treated fairly under the law.

Source: WestLaw, South Carolina Code 1976 § 56-5-2945

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