You’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in South Carolina, and you are wondering if you should hire a DUI lawyer. You are concerned about paying expensive legal fees, and you are not clear on what exactly a lawyer will be able to do in order to affect the outcome of your case. So, is it worth it? Or, should you represent yourself and take your chances in court?
Why Should You Hire a DUI Defense Lawyer for Your South Carolina DUI Case?
In South Carolina, there are many reasons why representing yourself in a DUI case is not a good idea. When you consider what is at stake and what is involved in presenting an effective defense, it is not hard to see why your best option by far is to hire an experienced defense attorney. Here are 10 of the top reasons why you should hire a DUI defense lawyer to represent you:
Reason #1: South Carolina’s DUI Laws are Complicated
From the definition of “driving under the influence” to the differing penalties for the various DUI-related offenses that exist under South Carolina law, there are numerous complex issues involved in understanding a DUI case. In order to defend yourself effectively, you need to have a commanding grasp of the law, and you need to know how to use it to your advantage.
Reason #2: A DUI Arrest Can Have Immediate Consequences
When you get arrested for DUI in South Carolina, there are certain immediate consequences. For example, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended, and you will lose the right to appeal the suspension if you do not act within 30 days. Filing an appeal also allows you to apply for a temporary alcohol restricted license, or “TARL,” but protecting your license after your TARL expires will require evidence that some aspect of your DUI arrest was improper.
Reason #3: A DUI Conviction Can Lead to Substantial Penalties
If you are convicted of DUI at trial, you will be at risk for substantial penalties. These include fines and jail time. The penalties for repeat offenders are significantly higher, and this alone is reason enough to fight to keep your criminal record clean.
Reason #4: A DUI Can Impact Your Life in Other Ways as Well
Beyond losing your license, your money, and your freedom, a DUI conviction can impact your life in other ways as well. If you are convicted, you will find it much harder to find a well-paying job; your housing options will be limited; and, if you are thinking about a college, your education could be in jeopardy.
Reason #5: There are Experienced Lawyers on the Other Side of Your Case
When you are charged with DUI in South Carolina, your case is handled by the prosecutor’s office. This means that there will be experienced lawyers on the other side fighting to convict you. If you do not have your own lawyer to level the playing field, you will be at a distinct disadvantage.
Reason #6: There Are Many Potential Defenses to a South Carolina DUI Charge
While there are many dangerous aspects of facing a DUI charge in South Carolina, there are also many potential defenses available. However, in order to determine what defenses you can assert, you will need to work closely with an attorney who can apply the law to the facts of your case.
Reason #7: Being Innocent Does Not Necessarily Mean That You are Safe
While you are innocent until proven guilty, being innocent does not necessarily mean that you are safe. Innocent people get convicted all the time, and it is usually because they did not have effective legal representation in court. If you are facing a DUI charge, you cannot rest easy until your case is fully and finally resolved. Also, you need to keep in mind that while you might think you are innocent, the reality is that you may have still violated South Carolina law.
Reason #8: The Costs of Hiring a Lawyer Can Be Far Less than the Costs of Trying to Handle Your Case on Your Own
With regard to cost, yes, you will need to pay your defense lawyer. However, hiring a lawyer to represent you can be far less costly than trying to handle your case on your own. What is it worth to you to protect your driver’s license? To stay out of jail? To protect your ability to work or go to college? Whatever your answer may be, the amount you pay for your legal representation will almost certainly be far less than what you stand to lose.
Reason #9: You Owe it to Your Family and Yourself to Take Your Case Seriously
Due to the severe consequences of a DUI conviction in South Carolina, you owe it to your family and yourself to take your case seriously. If you assume that everything will be fine (or that there is nothing you can do to protect yourself), you are going to be doing everyone you love a disservice. Facing a DUI charge is a serious matter, and you need to treat it accordingly.
Reason #10: If You Make Mistakes, You Will Regret Them for the Rest of Your Life
Finally, if you try to handle your case yourself and you make mistakes, you will regret your mistakes for the rest of your life. We’ve said it already, by the point cannot be emphasized enough: The consequences of a DUI conviction in South Carolina are severe. You need to make sure you have every opportunity to avoid these consequences, and this starts with hiring an experienced defense attorney.
Discuss Your Case with Rock Hill, SC DUI Defense Lawyer Michael L. Brown, Jr.
Are you facing a DUI charge in the Rock Hill, SC area? If so, we encourage you to contact us immediately to discuss your case. To speak with DUI defense attorney Michael L. Brown, Jr. in confidence, call 803-328-8822 or request a consultation online now.