SC DUI Enforcement Increases During the Holiday Season

In South Carolina, local and state police increase their efforts to stop drunk drivers during the holiday season. As The Herald wrote around this time last year:

“As people gather for the Christmas and New Year holidays, law enforcement officials in South Carolina are planning extra efforts to combat drunk driving and DUI. Th[e] S.C. Highway Patrol and other state agencies are in the midst of a ‘Sober or Slammer’ holiday campaign that runs through the new year.”

With more police on the road monitoring for drunk drivers, those who choose to drink and drive face a much higher risk of getting pulled over. As DUIs carry steep penalties in South Carolina, this is a risk that many local residents and visitors cannot afford to take.

10 Tips for Avoiding SC DUI Penalties During the 2022 Holiday Season

With this in mind, what can you do to avoid the severe consequences of a DUI conviction during the 2022 holiday season? Here are 10 tips from Rock Hill DUI lawyer Michael L. Brown, Jr.:

1. Don’t Drink and Drive

Of course, the best way to avoid a DUI is to never drink and drive. While this might not stop the police from pulling you over (or questioning you at a checkpoint), if you are not driving drunk, you obviously do not deserve a DUI conviction. Driving under the influence is illegal for a reason, and making sure you only drive when you are sober will help keep you, your loved ones, and other drivers safe on South Carolina’s roads.

2. Know What To Do At a DUI Checkpoint

DUI checkpoints are legal in South Carolina, and they tend to be especially prevalent during the holiday season. If you get stopped at a DUI checkpoint, it is important that you know what to do (and what not to do) while you are there. For example, being confrontational or refusing to provide your driver’s license and registration will almost always lead to problems; and, if you are belligerent, this will justify the police in asking you to step out of your car for the field sobriety tests (FSTs) and breathalyzer.

3. Know What To Do if the Police Ask You To Step Out of Your Car

Similarly, knowing what to do (and what not to do) when the police ask you to step out of your car can greatly improve your chances of avoiding a DUI conviction. For example, while the police cannot force you to take the breathalyzer, refusing the breath test is a violation of South Carolina’s “implied consent” law. Refusals usually lead to arrests, and you can face penalties for your refusal even if you are not convicted of DUI.

On the other hand, taking the field sobriety tests is not required. You can, and generally should, politely decline to take the FSTs. If you consent to the FSTs, there are simply too many things that can go wrong. While it is possible to challenge invalid FST results, it is best to avoid the need to challenge your FST results if possible.

4. Avoid Saying (or Posting) Anything Prosecutors Can Use Against You

When you are facing a possible DUI arrest (or facing a DUI charge), you need to avoid saying anything prosecutors can use against you. You have the right to remain silent, and it is important to use this right to your advantage. It is also important to avoid posting anything related to your DUI on social media. If you publish an incriminating post, prosecutors can—and will—use it against you.

5. Make Sure You Know Your Court Date

When you get a DUI in South Carolina, you will have a court date scheduled soon after your arrest. Failing to appear in court can be costly. So, you need to make sure you know your court date, and you need to be prepared to attend your court date with your lawyer.

6. Do Not Plead Guilty In Court

Regardless of the facts of your case, you do not want to plead guilty in court. If you do, you will waive many of your rights, and you can expect to face a harsh sentence. Even if you clearly got caught driving drunk, you have better options available—and you may even still have options for avoiding a conviction entirely.

7. Take Detailed Notes About Your DUI Arrest

As soon as possible, you should take detailed notes about your arrest. Why did the officer say he or she stopped you? What did the officer tell you about the FSTs and breathalyzer? What did you say on the side of the road? All of these are important details that you will want to discuss with your DUI lawyer.

8. Schedule a Free Consultation with a DUI Lawyer

Due to the significant risks of facing a DUI in South Carolina, it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. As soon as possible, you should schedule a free consultation with a lawyer who focuses on handling DUI cases in your local area.

9. Carefully Weigh All of Your Options

While pleading guilty in court is not a good option, you do potentially have several options available. For example, during your free initial consultation, your DUI lawyer will examine options such as negotiating a plea deal or fighting for a pre-trial dismissal.

10. Fight Your DUI in Court if Necessary

Finally, if it is not possible to achieve a favorable outcome before your trial date, your DUI lawyer can fight for a favorable outcome in court. Depending on the evidence that is available, this could mean securing a “Not guilty” verdict, or it could mean securing a reduced sentence that mitigates the consequences of your DUI.

Request a Free Consultation with Rock Hill DUI Lawyer Michael L. Brown, Jr.

If you get a DUI during the holiday season, you need to take your case seriously—and this starts with contacting an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible. To request a free consultation with Rock Hill DUI lawyer Michael L. Brown, Jr., call 803-328-8822 or tell us how we can reach you online now. 

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