South Carolina DUI Drug Laws
Our DUI Drug Lawyers Will Fight Your Charges
If you have been arrested on charges of driving under the influence of illegal drugs, it is important for you to work closely with a DUI attorney who will stand hard and fast in support of your constitutional rights in all aspects of your case.
In the face of a drug-related DUI arrest, you should seek aggressive counsel and representation from a criminal defense lawyer. Your South Carolina DUI drug attorney should be prepared to firmly remind the prosecution of the state’s obligation to prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
This includes challenging any evidence that was gathered unconstitutionally, making it inadmissible in the case against you. Just because you are suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, it doesn’t mean you are forfeiting your rights regarding probable cause for a traffic stop or protection against illegal search and seizure.
Possession of Narcotics Does Not Prove Driving Impairment in South Carolina
Just because a prosecutor charges you with possession of illegal substances — and you were at the wheel of a vehicle at the time of your arrest — this is not sufficient evidence to convict you of driving while impaired. Even if your blood tests positive for the drug in question, the prosecution must prove that the level of the drug was enough to cause impairment. This principle applies regardless of whether street drugs, marijuana, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications are in question.
Our Charleston-area DUI drug attorneys have extensive training and experience working with drug recognition experts (DREs) who test people for drug impairment. We are able to identify and articulate the apparent flaws in a DRE’s evaluation, as only a trained and experienced defense lawyer can do. The attorneys at our firm have helped many clients in the Charleston area and throughout the state fight some of the toughest drug-related DUI cases you can face.
Fines & Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in South Carolina
Having an DUI drug attorney on your side who is capable of pursuing the intricacies of a drug-related DUI defense is crucial because South Carolina levies harsh penalties for conviction on drug-related DUI.
Fines and penalties for drug-related DUI in South Carolina mirror those for driving under the influence of alcohol. If you are considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two, you face jail time, fines, required enrollment in an alcohol and drug safety action program (ADSAP), and more. Due to South Carolina’s implied consent law your driver’s license will be suspended.
In addition to the loss of your driver’s license and the criminal penalties — which include fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense — the collateral consequences are highly damaging. They can include damage to your personal reputation, the loss of your job, and having to pay for expensive SR-22 auto insurance if you get your driver’s license back.
What to do After a Drug-Related DUI Arrest in South Carolina
The first thing you should do after a drug-related DUI arrest is zip your lips. Anything you say — serious or joking — can be used against you as police officers gather evidence surrounding your case.
“A couple puffs of marijuana” is as bad as saying “I had a couple beers”. Being honest with the police officers about what you have or haven’t ingested only serves to further their investigation into you during a traffic stop. The odds of you being able to talk your way out of the arrest are zero, so save your words for your phone call to an experienced DUI defense lawyer who can look out for your interests and mount a strong defense.
What You Should Know About Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
In all 50 states, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired in any way. As we all know, drunk driving charges mean driving while under the influence of alcohol, but you could also face a DUI charge by driving under the influence of drugs. This is the case with marijuana and other illegal drugs as well as prescription medication.
The bad news is that many drugs remain detectable in blood or urine for some time after ingestion. For example, marijuana remains detectable for weeks after it is used and even cocaine, which exits the system faster, can be detected for a day or two. As such, a person could be charged with DUI even if they have not used drugs for days or weeks.
There is good news as well. Because of the difficulty identifying whether a person has just consumed drugs or whether they used drugs at an earlier time, it can be challenging to prosecute a defendant on drugged driving charges. A DUI article posted on FindLaw cites the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as stating that current drug knowledge is not yet adequate to identify “dosage limits that are related to elevated crash risk.”
With that said, South Carolina residents could still be prosecuted for drugged driving. The risk of conviction increases for defendants who do not have proper legal representation. The prosecution is tasked with providing enough evidence to warrant a conviction. A skilled defense attorney knows how to look at the evidence presented and build a defense strong enough to overcome this evidence.
If you are facing drugged or drunk driving charges in the Charleston area, you need to understand the law and the technology prosecutors rely on to make a case. Contact our South Carolina DUI drug lawyers today for a free consultation.
Can I Face Charges for Driving after Using Drugs or Medications?
When you think of driving under the influence, you might assume that alcohol is the substance that you are under the influence of. That isn’t always the case. It is possible for a person to face criminal charges for driving under the influence of drugs, even if those drugs are over-the-counter medications or prescription medications.
What kinds of drugs are associated with driving under the influence?
Any drug that affects your ability to make decisions and function properly can lead to a DUI charge. This can include illegal drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana and heroin. It can also include medications, such as allergy medications that make you drowsy or prescription medications like muscle relaxers or pain relief pills.
How is drug intoxication proven?
Drug intoxication is usually proven through a blood test or urinalysis that can detect whether certain drugs are in your system. There isn’t a breath test for drugs, so the blood test, urinalysis and possibly field tests are used to determine if a person is under the influence of drugs. Drug Recognition Experts, who are trained to determine if a person is impaired by drugs, might perform field tests to determine if a person is under the influence of drugs.
Does a doctor’s prescription matter?
Having a doctor’s prescription for the drugs doesn’t matter in a DUI case based on prescription drugs. In fact, many prescription pills have warnings on the bottle that warn you not to drive if you have taken the medication.
If you are facing a drugged driving charge, make sure that you understand the penalties for the charge. You can move forward with defense planning once you understand the penalties and the case that is being presented against you.
How to Fight a Drug-Related DUI Charge in South Carolina
You should get in touch with an attorney before continuing to talk to the police. You have the right to remain silent and anything you say will absolutely be used against you by law enforcement and prosecutors as they pursue a conviction in your case.
At Drennan Law Firm, we fight to minimize the damage our clients face as a result of DUI charges. Depending on the specific circumstances in your case is may make sense to pursue a reduction of charges by pleading guilty to a lesser offense. It may be in your interest to fight the charges in a trial, challenging the evidence against you over concerns on how it was gathered. We are prepared for whatever direction your defense must take to protect your rights, your reputation, and your future.
Successful Defense Arguments in DUI Drug Cases
We have just about seen it all in our many years of DUI defense in South Carolina. Nothing that happens in your case will catch us off guard as we pursue the best possible outcome for you.
Defenses in cases we have handled have included such issues as the following:
- The DRE evaluation was flawed.
- The amount of a drug in a person’s body could not be properly quantified.
- Prejudicial, unsubstantiated evidence that does not have a clear correlation to the charges should be suppressed.
- Some people taking Ambien have been found driving while still asleep! The drug triggered sleepwalking of an extreme variety — and defendants could not be held responsible.
- People have accidentally ingested substances that they did not intend to and were not aware of.
Our attorneys address every case’s unique set of facts. They are ready to investigate and discover the key to your defense after an arrest on charges of driving under the influence of drugs.
Get a Free Initial Consultation from Proven Attorneys
Were you arrested on suspicion of DUI offense after taking a prescription drug? DUI lawyers at Drennan Law Firm handle tough DUI cases. Make the phone call or send the email needed to get your discussion with our attorneys underway. Protect your clean record and your future. Contact Drennan Law Firm today.