Driving under the influence (DUI) infractions are some of the most common crimes committed in South Carolina. Some drivers get arrested because they cause crashes, but many end up prosecuted because of a traffic stop. They fail a breath test or show clear signs of intoxication, and a police officer arrests them as a result.
Many people accused of a DUI offense in South Carolina may believe that pleading guilty is the most reasonable way to resolve the issue. They want to avoid a trial that could force them to miss work and/or draw the attention of others. However, what they may fail to consider is that a DUI will affect many areas of their life for years to come.
Convicted DUI offenders may not be able to expunge their record
Many employers, particularly those that offer well-paid positions, will perform background checks before hiring an existing worker or promoting someone to a new role within the company. Employers are not the only parties that often look at someone’s criminal record.
Educational institutions, private scholarship foundations, school districts where people’s children attend and even landlords also perform criminal background checks. Although a DUI won’t do as much damage to someone’s reputation as a violent criminal offense, it could still be the deciding factor in a decision about someone’s future. Some employers and educational institutions have zero-tolerance policies. Other times, someone who might be theoretically eligible for a job will lose an opportunity to someone else who does not have a conviction on their record. For many people, avoiding a criminal conviction is of the utmost importance for one or more of these reasons.
In South Carolina, expungements are difficult to obtain. More importantly, they are not available for DUI offenses. People face limitations on their personal opportunities for the rest of their lives if they plead guilty to a DUI charge. Fighting the charge is usually a better solution than pleading guilty specifically because of the criminal record that a guilty plea will generate.
There are many different defense strategies that can potentially work for someone who has been accused of impairment at the wheel. Reviewing the state’s evidence and considering different defense strategies with the assistance of a skilled attorney may be the best path forward for someone accused of drunk driving in South Carolina who understands how important it is to avoid a conviction, if possible.