It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is approaching. As discussed last year, local and state law enforcement agencies in South Carolina have increased their efforts to target drunk drivers during the holiday season. This, combined with the fact that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve are among the most dangerous nights to drive, means that many South Carolina residents and visitors will likely face driving under the influence (DUI) charges in the coming months.
If you find yourself dealing with a DUI during the holiday season in South Carolina, here’s what you need to know:
What To Do If You’re Dealing with a Holiday DUI
While you may be tempted to ignore your DUI during the holiday season, this isn’t an option. If you miss a DUI, your case will proceed in court without you, almost certainly resulting in a conviction.
Can’t you deal with the consequences after the fact? Technically, you can. But you don’t want to. It is important not to misunderstand the seriousness of your situation. In South Carolina, DUI is a criminal offense, and even first-time offenders can face thousands of dollars in fines and surcharges, loss of driving privileges, and up to 48 hours in jail.
With this in mind, you need to contact a defense lawyer promptly. A local DUI defense lawyer can explain everything you need to know and walk you through the steps you need to take to protect yourself. This includes critical steps such as:
- Make Sure You Attend Your Initial Appearance: Unless your DUI defense lawyer advises otherwise, you must attend your initial appearance. If you don’t, you can be charged with failure to appear, which can have serious adverse consequences. Even if it means changing your holiday travel plans, you must prioritize your DUI case and do what is necessary to protect yourself.
- Learn About Potential DUI Defenses in South Carolina. There are various ways to fight a DUI charge in South Carolina. With that said, the options you have available depend entirely on the facts of your case. You should learn about the types of DUI defenses that are available, and you should think about which ones might apply to your case.
- Learn About the “Defenses” That Don’t Work There are many misconceptions about DUI cases in South Carolina, including the available defenses. As you prepare to deal with your DUI charge during the holiday season, you must ensure that you aren’t planning to rely on any of these common “defenses” that don’t work.
- Keep the Facts (and Your Opinions) to yourself. When facing a DUI charge in South Carolina, you should only discuss your case with your defense lawyer. You should not post on social media or share details with friends or coworkers. If you post or say anything prosecutors can use against you, they will not hesitate to do so.
- Make Sure You Understand What Is At Risk. Along with the penalties mentioned above, a DUI conviction in South Carolina can have various other serious consequences. To ensure that you make informed decisions, you must understand what is at risk in your case.
What Not To Do if You’re Dealing with a Holiday DUI in South Carolina
When facing a DUI charge in South Carolina, knowing what to do and what not to do is equally important. Here are five examples of what not to do when you are dealing with a DUI during the holiday season:
- Don’t Drive if Your License is Suspended – When you got arrested for DUI, your driver’s license may have been suspended immediately. If your license is suspended, you should not drive. Driving on a suspended license also carries severe penalties in South Carolina, and you do not want the judge to find out that you broke the law while your DUI case was pending.
- Don’t Drink and Drive (Again): Regardless of whether your driver’s license has been suspended, you should not drink and drive. Not only is drinking and driving dangerous, but getting a second DUI will increase your risk significantly. Repeat offenders face enhanced penalties in South Carolina, including thousands of dollars in fines and a minimum of five days in jail.
- Don’t Rely on Common Myths About South Carolina DUIs – As we said above, there are a lot of misconceptions about DUI charges in South Carolina. As you move forward, you must ensure you rely on sound legal advice and not common myths that simply aren’t true.
- Don’t Plead Guilty So You Can Enjoy the Holidays – The quickest way to resolve your DUI case is to plead guilty during your initial appearance. However, this is rarely the right choice. While you may be tempted to put your case behind you so that you can focus on enjoying the holidays, the consequences aren’t even close to worth it.
- Don’t Make Other Costly Mistakes. This is just a tiny sampling of the mistakes you must avoid when facing a DUI during the holiday season in South Carolina. It would help if you avoided many other mistakes—including mistakes that could land you in jail unnecessarily. While dealing with a DUI during the holidays isn’t easy, it is essential, and you must ensure you are doing everything you can to protect yourself to the fullest extent possible.
Discuss Your Case with a DUI Defense Lawyer in Rock Hill, SC
Did you get a DUI during the holiday season in South Carolina? If so, we can help, but you must contact us promptly. To speak with a DUI defense lawyer in Rock Hill, SC, about your case in confidence as soon as possible, call 803-328-882 or tell us how we can reach you online now.