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What To Do If You’re Charged With Driving With an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration in South Carolina

September 18, 2023

: DUI Defense

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Getting charged with Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) in South Carolina can be a daunting experience, carrying severe legal consequences and potential impacts on various aspects of your life. If you’ve received a DUAC charge, it’s best to act quickly and seek legal representation to help you understand the charges and move forward in the best way possible.

Understanding DUAC Charges: What Does It Mean?

In South Carolina, a DUAC charge is brought against a driver who is found to be operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. It’s important to note that DUAC is distinct from a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge, which involves impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs regardless of BAC. To prove DUI, the state must establish that the defendant was “materially and appreciably impaired.” DUAC focuses solely on the alcohol concentration level, and even if you feel sober, a BAC of 0.08% or higher can lead to a DUAC charge.

Next Steps After You're Charged: Navigating the Legal Process

  • Understand the Charges: Familiarize yourself with the specific charges against you and the potential consequences. DUAC convictions can result in fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, and even imprisonment, depending on prior offenses and the case circumstances.
  • Consult an Attorney: Seeking legal representation should be your top priority. An experienced attorney specializing in DUI/DUAC cases can provide invaluable guidance and protect your rights throughout the legal proceedings.
  • Request a DMV Hearing: After a DUAC charge, your driver’s license may be automatically suspended if your BAC test results are 0.15 or greater. You have a limited window to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to challenge the suspension. Your attorney can help with this process.
  • Gather Evidence: Work closely with your attorney to gather all pertinent information related to your case, including witness statements, video footage, and any other evidence that might cast doubt on the charges or the accuracy of the BAC test results.
  • Explore Possible Defenses: Depending on the circumstances, various defenses may be available to you. These could include challenging the accuracy of BAC tests, questioning the legality of the traffic stop, or highlighting any violations of your rights during the arrest.
  • Negotiation and Trial: Your attorney will assess the strength of the state’s case and may negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduced charge or lesser penalties. If a favorable resolution cannot be reached, your case might proceed to trial, where your attorney will present your defense and challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution.

How an Attorney Can Help You: The Importance of Legal Representation

Facing a DUAC charge without legal representation can be risky. Here’s how an attorney can assist you:

  • Legal Expertise: Attorneys specializing in DUI/DUAC cases have an in-depth understanding of South Carolina’s laws related to alcohol-related driving offenses. They can identify potential issues with the evidence against you and explore legal avenues for a strong defense.
  • Navigating Procedures: The legal process can be complex, involving deadlines, paperwork, and court appearances. An attorney can guide you through these procedures, ensuring you meet all requirements and deadlines.
  • Protecting Your Rights: Your attorney will ensure that your constitutional rights were not violated during traffic stops, arrests, or throughout the testing process. Any violations could lead to the exclusion of evidence or even dismissal of charges.
  • Negotiation Skills: Attorneys are skilled negotiators communicating effectively with the prosecution. They may secure a plea deal that reduces charges or penalties, sparing you from the harshest consequences.
  • Trial Representation: If your case goes to trial, having a seasoned attorney by your side can make a significant difference. They can craft a strong defense strategy, cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence in your favor.

Are You Facing a DUAC Charge? Bernstein & Bernstein Can Help You!

Being charged with Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) in South Carolina is a serious matter with potentially far-reaching consequences. If you find yourself facing such a charge, it’s essential to take immediate action. 

Consult our experienced attorneys, who can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and work toward the best possible outcome for your situation. Remember that every case is unique, and having a knowledgeable legal advocate can make a substantial difference in the final result.

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