DUI Under 21 in South Carolina
Get Defense That You Can Depend On
Underage drinking and driving charges in South Carolina can tarnish your reputation, exclude you from many school activities and sports, and ruin your college career. A student convicted of DUI under 21 in South Carolina can lose scholarships and be suspended from school. Additionally, you will find it much more difficult to get a good job if you have been convicted of DUI.
Your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for at least three months, and you could also be charged with child endangerment if you have a passenger in the vehicle under the age of 16.
The Damage a DUI Can do to Your Record
You’re young, but you are over the legal age to drink. You decide to go out with coworkers and have a night on the town. In your mind, there’s little that could go wrong, but that’s where you’ve made a mistake.
While you expected to feel intoxicated after a while, you didn’t think you’d be in an intoxicated state while driving home. It was such a short distance, you thought to yourself that you’d be able to get home just fine. The trouble is that you weren’t right, and an officer saw you narrowly avoid getting into an accident.
After being pulled over, you realized the serious trouble you could be in if you’re not cautious. You agree to take the breath test because of the requirement by law and so that you don’t automatically lose your license. Your blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent, just enough to result in a DUI.
What Should You do Now?
You may know that a DUI could seriously affect your future at this point. You could lose your job, be unable to participate in social events, lose your home when you can’t work, go to jail or face other penalties. The best thing you can do is to think methodically about the next steps you take. Don’t admit to being too intoxicated to drive in the hope that the officer will spare you. It’s in your interests to stay quiet until you speak with your attorney.
Many DUIs can be challenged, which is good news for you. To start with, your attorney will want to look at how the traffic stop occurred and make sure there was reasonable cause to pull you over. An officer doesn’t have a right to pull you over if you haven’t done anything wrong.
Next, your attorney will review your blood alcohol concentration, the tests and how they were performed. Did you fail roadside sobriety tests? Was the blood alcohol concentration on the borderline? These are important questions that could help find a way to defend your innocence or get the charges against you lowered or dropped completely.
Finally, your attorney will want to make sure the crime lab still has the results of the test, such as blood taken at the hospital. If there is no evidence on hand, it’s much easier to make a deal with the prosecution or to have the case dismissed in court.
How Can a Lawyer Help Someone Arrested for Underage (Under 21) DUI in SC?
Penalties for an underage DUI conviction are heavy — too heavy for most young drivers. At Drennan Law Firm, we understand that everyone makes mistakes. We defend people accused of DUI throughout the Charleston area, and we are committed to holding law enforcement accountable for aggressive tactics, which can include oversights in testing procedures leading to DUI arrests.
Police officers make mistakes, too. And sometimes they don’t follow proper protocols. We know this because our firm founder was closely involved in crafting the law that requires police officers to videotape all breath tests and field sobriety tests from their squad cars. We can tell immediately if protocols were violated, and that could play an important part of your defense.
We will challenge the prosecution’s case at every turn. Breath tests and field sobriety tests cannot be relied upon for accuracy. Was there probable cause for the police to pull your vehicle over? Many things could influence your breath test results and your performance of field sobriety tests, which could yield inconclusive results.
Zero Tolerance Policy in South Carolina for Drivers Under 21
If your blood alcohol content (BAC) was .02 percent or higher, you will be charged with underage drinking and driving (DUI Under 21), and your driver’s license will be automatically suspended.
However, you have the right to an administrative hearing to pursue reinstatement of your driver’s license. The hearing can be accomplished while your DUI case is pending.
We can help you get your driving privileges back. The sooner you contact our law firm, the sooner we can get to work building your best possible case.
Summer & Spring Break DUI Arrests in SC
It is a storied tradition for many South Carolina teens to head to Myrtle Beach for spring break or to celebrate the summer after their high school graduations. College students, too, like to hang out at the beach for spring break or when they are back in South Carolina for the summer. And while many of these young people follow all the rules, some of course give in to youthful indiscretions and engage in underage drinking.
During spring break and over the summer, many of South Carolina’s law enforcement units step up their drunk driving and underage drinking enforcement efforts. Many of South Carolina’s teenagers may not be aware of the state’s harsh penalties for drunk driving and underage drinking convictions.
A first offense can result in a license suspension, a jail sentence and mandatory participation in an alcohol and drug education program.
And, with college and bright futures right around the corner for many of these young people, it is also important to think about the long-term consequences of alcohol-related offenses. A second alcohol offense can result in the loss of any state-funded college tuition grants or scholarships, and a criminal record can have an effect on many educational and career opportunities and plans to come.
It is important not only that South Carolina’s youth are aware of the consequences of drinking underage or drinking and driving, but also of the fact that an arrest does not automatically equate to a conviction. Teens, just like adults, have a right to fight the charges or work with a criminal defense attorney to arrive at the best possible outcome.