Arrested for DUI in Charleston
If you have been arrested for DUI in Charleston, Berkeley or Dorchester Counties, you should have been issued the following documents at the time of your arrest or upon release from jail:
1) Blue Uniform Traffic Ticket
2) Implied Consent Form (SLED Forensics Form #ICS 010)
3) Data Master Sheet ( with Breathalyzer reading or refusal)
4) Notice of Suspension (if applicable) (SLED Forensics Form #ICS 018)
5) Bond Form with type of bond and court dates
6) Checklist for Magistrates and Municipal Judges
Once you have been released on bond, you need to make sure you have all these initial charging documents and the appropriate paperwork directing you to your court date and time. Make a note of this date and time on a calendar. You do not want this date to “sneak up on you.”
Recovering your vehicle:
If your vehicle has been towed, you will need to follow the local arresting agency’s particular policy for the release of any vehicle. Policies differ among angecies in regard to exactly whom they will release an impounded vehicle.
Call BEFORE you go to that agency, so that you will have the necessary paperwork in hand and don’t have to make several trips. The fee to release a vehicle will be different in each jurisdiction. Don’t be surprised if the tow fee seems extremely high, remember, no one at the police agency or towing company will feel sorry for a DUI Defendant. This is a sentiment you will see over and over again.
Call Us If You Have Any Questions:
Please call our office immediately, so that we may help you gather any missing documents from the agencies involved. Often times, officers from multiple agencies, such as local deputies and state troopers will play separate rolls in an arrest and documents don’t get passed along.
Let us contact the individual agencies to request the missing documents, as we routinely do this for our clients. We like to limit your contact with the arresting agency, so as not to put you “on their radar.” The last thing you want to do is anger the arresting officer by pointing out that he failed to give you a copy of a certain document. We handle this task routinely and are very polite and professional in our dealings with the police agencies and making specific requests for missing documents.
Detailed Client Interview:
We prefer to meet with each client individually and gather a very, very detailed description of the events before, during and after the arrest. This includes sleep patterns, food intake, alcohol intake, medications, etc. We prefer to gather the names and information of any and all witnesses so that we may interview them while the incident is still fresh in their minds. Please realize that we know exactly how an officer should handle a DUI arrest in particular circumstances, whether it be a traffic stop, a checkpoint, a single or multi-car accident. We are often looking for things that you or your witnesses can either confirm took place or deny, which are extremely important to an arrest. It is important that you speak with us while your memory is fresh so that you can give us your best recollection of the events of that night.
* This is why you need an experienced DUI attorney who has handled hundreds of DUI arrests.
We discourage you from reading a copy of the police report before you speak with us. Remember, the police report is the Arresting Officer’s version of the events of the evening. Police officers will include most everything that supports their arrest and very little or nothing favorable to the Defendant. We want the version of the events that you recall.
We will also download your Datamaster Video onto a CD to further analyze it in great detail. The requirements and law regarding the sequencing of events during an arrest are constantly being refined and further detailed by the South Carolina Courts. We seek to find any and all “Fatal Errors” in the Arresting Officer’s Procedure, from the Reasonable Suspicion surrounding the initial stop to the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests to the Mirandizement of the driver on video. A “Fatal Error” is a procedural or factual error that as a result of existing case law will be enough of an issue to warrant the DUI arrest to be dismissed. By hiring an experienced DUI Defense Attorney, you will have a well trained eye looking back over each and every piece of available evidence to seek out these “Fatal Errors” and any other errors that show the arresting officer’s inexperience. Very rarely is a DUI arrest one hundred (100%) percent “airtight!”
Once retained, we will also serve the Arresting Officer and each agency involved with a Discovery Motion designed to examine any and all evidence they intend to use against you in their prosecution of the DUI charge. Our detailed Discovery Motion (often referred to as a Rule 5 Motion) will ask for all inculpatory (proof used to show one’s guilt) and exculpatory (proof that tends to show one’s innocence). Often times it is what the client did right, that will sway the judge or jury to find that the Defendant was not “materially and appreciably impaired” as the officer initially suspected.
We gather the evidence to be used in the case against you and analyze it for strength and admissibility. We will then contact you and give you the option to sit and review the evidence, discussing the admissibility of such evidence and the strength of the state’s case against you based on the judge’s likely evidentiary rulings. Remember, just because it is a damaging piece of evidence, that doesn’t mean that it will automatically be admissible in court against you. It is our job to look at how to keep the damaging evidence from being admitted, if possible.
*Again, this is why you need experienced trial counsel to help guide you through this delicate and important process.
We routinely file motions to suppress evidence and testimony based on existing South Carolina case law. We are often successful in keeping matters from being used against our clients. Remember, each and every DUI Arrest is different and each client’s dialogue which is caught on police video and recorded is different. This is why it is important that you speak to us quickly, so as to remember what was NOT recorded, in the patrol car, or at the police station before or after the data master test was offered, or what was said off camera or not said on the way to the Detention Center or County Jail.
All this is extremely important in the bigger picture. It is information we could potentially use to help you. Please speak with us a soon as possible before this information is lost or forgotten. Make sure that any attorney you speak with discusses these conversations with you and carefully notes them in the file, for potential use later at trial or during a Motion hearing.
Each individual arrest is different from any other, with differing officers, agencies, facts, evidence and witnesses. Cases that often appear “unbeatable” can often have several “Fatal Flaws” ranging from faulty videos, to testing that did not take place in the prescribed manner in accordance with the SLED procedures or existing State statutes.
It takes an experienced DUI Defense Attorney to recognize and be able to use this valuable information to have the DUI charge Dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge such as Reckless Driving, Careless Driving, or a minor moving violation. Sometimes even the ugliest of cases can still be dismissed and rewritten to a ticket for Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Content which has certain advantages over a DUI conviction.
Please contact us immediately if you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI or a related offense in the Charleston area. You may reach us by phone at 843-971-0099, or by clicking here to contact us for a free case evaluation.