10 Steps to Protect Yourself After a DUI Arrest in South Carolina

When you get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in South Carolina, you need to be very careful. Mistakes can be costly—and, typically, once you do something you shouldn’t have, there’s no way to take it back.

Driving under the influence is a crime in South Carolina; and, recently, we discussed some dos and don’ts for individuals who are facing criminal charges. In this article, we’re covering some additional steps you can (and should) take to protect yourself if you are awaiting trial on a DUI.

What Can (and Should) You Do to Protect Yourself After a DUI Arrest?

What should you do after a DUI arrest? To maximize your chances of a favorable outcome, you should:

1. Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

If you are facing a DUI charge, you need to exercise your right to remain silent. At this point, you should not say anything about your case to anyone except your defense lawyer. Don’t talk to the police or prosecutors, don’t discuss your arrest with your friends or coworkers, and don’t post about your case online. The well-known saying is very true: Anything you say can and will be used against you.

2. Request an Administrative Hearing

To protect your driver’s license, you will need to request an administrative hearing. This is separate from your DUI trial. You can lose your driver’s license before your trial, and you will lose your license unless you request a hearing and assert a successful defense.

3. Take Detailed Notes About Your Arrest

As soon as possible, you should take detailed notes about your DUI arrest. Write down everything you can remember while the details are still fresh in your mind. Why did the officer say he or she pulled you over? Did the officer explain South Carolina’s implied consent law? Did the officer clearly explain how to perform the field sobriety tests? Did the officer read your Miranda rights? These are all critical details, and the more you can write down, the better.

4. Highlight Any Facts that Seem Especially Relevant

Once you write down everything you remember from the night (or day) of your arrest, you should highlight any facts that seem especially relevant. Are there any facts in particular that you think your lawyer might be able to use in your defense? Do you have reason to believe that you were profiled? Did you not understand how to take the breathalyzer or perform the field sobriety tests? If you have any reason to suspect that there may have been issues with your arrest, these are definitely details that you will want to discuss with your lawyer.

5. Make Sure You Know Your Court Date (and Hearing Date)

When you are facing a DUI charge in South Carolina, you need to make sure you know your court date. If you don’t show up on time, the judge could charge you with failure to appear. This could lead to a bench warrant being issued for your arrest, and it could have a variety of other consequences as well.

Likewise, once you request an administrative hearing, you need to make sure you know your hearing date, and you need to make plans to be there on time. If you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer can appear alongside you and present your arguments on your behalf.

6. Prepare for Your Initial Court Appearance (and Hearing)

While knowing your court date (and hearing date) is important, it is far from all you need to do to prepare. If you hire a lawyer, your lawyer will walk you through everything you need to know. Even if your job is just to stay silent while your lawyer speaks on your behalf, you still need to know how to dress, where to go, and what to expect when your court date (or hearing date) arrives.

7. Don’t Drive Drunk (and Don’t Drive At All if Your License is Suspended)

While you are awaiting trial on a DUI charge, it is extremely important that you don’t get arrested for drunk driving again. The easiest way to avoid this is to avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking. If you aren’t driving drunk, the police can’t catch you.

If your driver’s license is suspended, you need to avoid driving at all. Not only can driving on a suspended license lead to additional consequences, but it can negatively impact your DUI case as well.

8. Find Out if You Are Eligible for the Alcohol Education Program (AEP)

If this is your first DUI case, you may be able to avoid a conviction by entering into South Carolina’s Alcohol Education Program (AEP). While there are costs and time commitments involved, avoiding the long-term consequences of a DUI conviction will be well worth it if you are eligible to participate in the program.

9. Realistically Assess Your Options

If you aren’t eligible for the AEP, you will need to work with your lawyer to realistically assess your options. Does it make sense to fight for a “Not guilty” verdict at trial? Or, should you consider negotiating a plea bargain? While you shouldn’t give in if you have defenses available, you also shouldn’t take unnecessary risks when there are better alternatives.

10. Make Informed Decisions Based on Your Lawyer’s Advice

Ultimately, protecting yourself after a DUI arrest is all about making informed decisions. If you rely on your lawyer’s advice, you will put yourself in the best position possible to obtain a favorable resolution. While there are no guarantees, you can improve your chances of success, and doing so involves understanding how the law applies to your individual circumstances.

Discuss Your Case with a Rock Hill DUI Lawyer

Are you facing a DUI charge in South Carolina? If so, we strongly encourage you to contact us for more information. To schedule an appointment with an experienced Rock Hill DUI lawyer, give us a call at 803-328-8822 or request a free consultation online now.

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