DUI Lawyer

Summerville, South Carolina

All DUI charges have serious consequences and multiple convictions carry heavy penalties.

We are Passionate About Helping Our Clients Fight DUI Charges.

We understand that DUI charges can happen to anyone.

Unfortunately, a DUI conviction can have devastating consequences, resulting in license suspension, ADSAP requirements, ignition interlock requirements, huge fines, jail time, and a criminal record that can never be expunged.

Fortunately, you may have defenses that you are unaware of and the DUI attorneys at Seaton & Duncan may be able to get your case dismissed, get your ticket rewritten to a non-DUI traffic offense, or win your case at trial.

If you have been charged with a DUI-related offense in Summerville, South Carolina, get help immediately.

Understanding DUI Charges

in South Carolina

What is DUI in South Carolina?

DUI in South Carolina has a very specific definition, and it may not be what you think. 

South Carolina Code Section 56-5-2930 defines “driving under the influence” as:

  1. Driving
  2. While under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a combination of alcohol and drugs, 
  3. To the extent that your “faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired.”

Unlike the DUI laws in some other states, you must be driving – the vehicle must be moving under your control – to be convicted of DUI. 

Even if a person is passed out at the wheel with the engine running, there is no probable cause for a DUI arrest unless there is some additional evidence that the person was driving while under the influence. 

Also, there is no “legal limit” for a person’s BAC for purposes of DUI charges in South Carolina – regardless of the breathalyzer result, the State must prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the person was intoxicated to the extent that their faculties to drive a motor vehicle were materially and appreciably impaired.

What is Felony DUI in South Carolina?

South Carolina Code Section 56-5-2945 defines “felony DUI” and requires the State to prove that a defendant:

  • Was driving a motor vehicle,
  • While under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
  • Committed “any act forbidden by law” or neglected “any duty imposed by law” (they were negligent), and
  • Their negligence caused another person’s death or great bodily injury. 

If the offense resulted in great bodily injury, it is punishable by 30 days to 15 years in prison. If the offense resulted in death, it is punishable by one year to 25 years in prison.

What is DUAC in South Carolina?

DUAC, or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration, is a bit different than DUI charges. 

To get a conviction for DUAC, the State needs to prove that a person’s BAC was .08 or higher – regardless of their level of intoxication or whether they were materially and appreciably impaired. 

As a practical matter, this means that:

  • The State must have a BAC result from a breathalyzer, urinalysis, or blood test,
  • If the BAC test results are excluded, the State cannot prove its case, and
  • The State may be forced to bring an expert witness to testify at your trial to counter your expert’s testimony on the breathalyzer machine or other testing process. 

Although it requires different types of proof, a DUAC conviction has the same consequences as a DUI conviction.

What is a DUI Administrative Hearing/ Implied Consent Hearing? 

South Carolina law says that, if you drive a motor vehicle in the state, you have “impliedly consented” to give a breath, urine, or blood sample for testing if you are suspected of driving under the influence. 

Of course, you did not consent to any such thing. You have a right to refuse the tests, but, if you refuse, your license will be suspended under South Carolina’s implied consent laws. 

On the other hand, if you take the test and the result is .15 or greater, your license will still be suspended. 

You can then request an implied consent hearing to ask an administrative hearing officer to restore your license.

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They are very good at what they do! Go see them today and be worry free!

– Kipp Cavadias

Great Lawyer

Great Lawyer, will definitely use again when needed. Thank You Beau!

– Charles McGee

Wonderful Lawyer

He truly cares about his clients!! A wonderful lawyer!!

– Lamarr Richardson

* The Rules of Professional Conduct require disclosure that this is a “Testimonial” about the attorney. Please be aware that any result achieved on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

Four (4) Things to Consider If You’re
Facing a DUI Charge in summerville

1. Get an experienced DUI lawyer in Summerville, South Carolina on your case immediately.

If you are charged with DUI in Summerville, South Carolina, call DUI defense attorney Beau Seaton immediately.

You will need an experienced DUI defense lawyer to investigate the allegations, research the law as applied to the facts of your case, work on getting your case dismissed, negotiate a favorable outcome, and try your case to a jury when necessary.

More importantly, you need advice immediately because there are critical deadlines early in your case that you cannot miss including your initial court date and the deadline for filing your implied consent hearing request with the DMV.

3. The DMV must receive your implied consent hearing request within 30 days of your arrest.

If you have an implied consent suspension and the DMV does not receive your implied consent hearing request on the original form provided to you in the breathalyzer room, you lose your right to challenge the suspension. 

If you do not request a hearing in time or if you lose the hearing, the implied consent suspension will remain, you must enroll in ADSAP, and there may be an ignition interlock device requirement before you can drive again.

2. Collateral consequences of a DUI conviction in South Carolina.

A DUI conviction has many collateral consequences that the police, prosecutor, or court may not tell you about when they are trying to talk you into pleading guilty. 

For example:

  • License suspensions,
  • License revocation and habitual traffic offender status,
  • Ignition interlock device requirements,
  • ADSAP requirements,
  • Immigration consequences,
  • Job loss and difficulty finding work with a DUI on your record, and
  • A permanent criminal record for drunk driving that can never be expunged.

4. A DUI conviction can never be expunged in South Carolina.

Because driving under the influence is considered a traffic offense (as well as a “criminal” offense), it cannot be expunged under South Carolina law.

If you are convicted of DUI, it will appear on your criminal history for the rest of your life.

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Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.

Common Questions About
DUI Charges in Summerville

Can a DUI charge be dropped or reduced in South Carolina?

Your prosecutor can dismiss your charges based on your attorney’s investigation of the facts and the law that applies to the facts of your case.

If your attorney can show the prosecutor that they cannot win your case at trial, they are not likely to waste their time and the court’s time attempting to get a conviction.

A DUI can’t technically be “reduced,” but it can be rewritten to a traffic ticket that is not DUI-related and that will not suspend your license.

Will a DUI charge show up on my background check?

DUI is a criminal offense, and it will show up on your background check.

Although many people think that traffic offenses “fall off their record” after three or ten years, this is not true for criminal offenses like driving under the influence.

Not only will a DUI conviction appear on your background checks, it can never be expunged under South Carolina law.

Is a DUI charge a misdemeanor or a felony in South Carolina?

The only DUI offense in South Carolina that is classified as a felony is the separate offense of “Felony DUI.” 

DUI 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or subsequent offenses are classified as misdemeanors in South Carolina. 

South Carolina Code § 56-5-6190 says that “It is a misdemeanor for any person to violate any of the provisions of this chapter unless such violation is by this chapter or other law of this State declared to be a felony.”

South Carolina’s DUI statutes, found in South Carolina Code § 56-5-2930, do not specify whether a conviction is a felony offense or a misdemeanor offense, and therefore they are a misdemeanor offense per South Carolina Code § 56-5-6190

“Felony DUI” is a felony because the statute says it is a felony.