One of the most frequently asked questions to a Charleston DUI attorney is whether a DUI is automatically a felony. In South Carolina, a DUI can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on a variety of factors. Hiring an attorney is vital to having your charges be in the realm of a misdemeanor if the case is not dismissed.
Requirements for Felony DUI
In South Carolina judges have criteria they go by to determine if your DUI is a felony or not including:
- You are driving and hit a pedestrian who is severely injured or killed.
- A passenger in your vehicle is harmed when you are driving under the influence.
- You have multiple DUIs (a third DUI in South Carolina is a felony)
When clients are in a situation where their DUI could be charged as a felony, a Charleston DUI attorney is the only thing that can help get charges reduced and even dismissed when possible. When charges cannot be dismissed, your attorney can help negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf to avoid felony DUI charges.
A first offense DUI that does not involve bodily harm or death is a Class B misdemeanor but can still result in some jail time and fines. Second offense DUIs can also avoid felony charges but will carry longer sentencing and higher fines than a first offense. Every person convicted of a DUI in South Carolina will also have to install an ignition interlock device regardless of felony or misdemeanor conviction.
DUIs can have long term effects on your life. In addition to a criminal record a DUI can result in job loss, family tension, loss of your home, and many other negative consequences. Multiple DUIs and DUIs that result in injury or death carry long term jail sentences that can abruptly disrupt your life. Try to avoid the most severe consequences by hiring a Charleston DUI attorney to represent you in court.
If you need a Charleston DUI attorney, call The Law Office of Peter David Brown at 843-806-0899.