DUI Lawyer Charleston SC
Fight Your DUI Charge in Charleston, Summerville, and the Surrounding South Carolina Communities
Attorney Paul Thurmond is lead counsel for DUI and criminal defense at Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A. As a seasoned DUI lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina, Mr. Thurmond has handled a wide range of charges. He knows how to negotiate with prosecutors and law enforcement officials.
At our Charleston criminal defense law firm, we have been successful in getting erroneous charges dismissed, negotiating for a lesser or reduced charge, or avoiding jail time through community service or monetary penalty*.
The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in South Carolina are severe. Even a first offense can result in jail time and the suspension of your driver’s license. Also, the conviction can never be expunged from your record and you will be required to carry additional insurance.
A criminal conviction can have lasting implications for your life. If you or a family member has been arrested for DUI, take the charges very seriously and contact a Charleston DUI lawyer!
Experienced Legal Defense for DUI Charges
At Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., our Charleston DUI defense attorneys have experience fighting for clients accused of driving under the influence or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC) in South Carolina. When you hire our Charleston DUI firm, we will focus on your best interests and can strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
It’s important to have an experienced DUI lawyer thoroughly examine your charge, including investigating the following:
- The legality of the stop
- Whether a field sobriety test was administered correctly
- Whether the breathalyzer machine was properly maintained and calibrated
- Whether blood or urine tests were accurately collected and reliable
Our Charleston DUI attorneys know that these charges are serious and can have lifelong effects on you both criminally and financially. That is why we will strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
If you are wondering whether you need a lawyer, call a Charleston DUI attorney at our criminal defense law firm, for a free consultation to evaluate your legal situation. Our DUI lawyers will work hard to get your DUI charges dropped or reduced.
Our Charleston DUI Lawyers Assure That You Are Informed and Prepared
South Carolina DUI law is very specific. A conviction carries many collateral consequences you might not fully understand. Our DUI lawyers ensure that our clients understand the prosecutorial system and the impacts of their legal options available.
At Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., our DUI law firm will do everything we can to avoid you having this charge on your permanent record. Our Charleston DUI lawyers will walk you through the entire DUI process, from the arrest to the option of going to trial or taking a plea bargain. We’ll also discuss any post-trial relief you might need.
Our DUI lawyers will be by your side, and we are here to help.
Driving a Vehicle Under the Influence (DUI)
In South Carolina, you are prohibited from driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both, to the extent that a person’s ability to drive is materially and appreciably impaired. In other words, if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher it will be inferred that you were driving under the influence. This inference can be rebutted, which means at trial, the jury or judge may disregard this inference based on other evidence. If your BAC is at least 0.05% but less than 0.08%, there is no inference to consider, and the jury or judge may consider the BAC reading, along with other evidence, just as field sobriety test results, driving, etc., in determining the evidence against you.
Driving While Under the Influence Is a Serious Offense
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious and dangerous offense in South Carolina. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the total traffic fatalities in South Carolina, over 30% were due to alcohol-impaired driving. Given these statistics, law enforcement officers in our area have become increasingly tougher on drunk drivers.
South Carolina law states that any person driving in the state is considered to have given consent for testing of breath, blood, or urine for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol and/or drugs. If you refuse testing, you face a minimum 6-month suspension of your license. If you have prior DUI suspensions you may receive a longer suspension. That is why it is important to consult with experienced SC DUI lawyers.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction in South Carolina
If you are a first-time offender convicted of driving under the influence in South Carolina, the penalties may include driver’s license suspension, monetary fines, or up to 90 days in jail. You might also be required to complete an alcohol and drug safety program.
If convicted, the charge will appear on your criminal history and can be seen on any background check. Your car insurance rate will likely increase, and you might be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
The criminal penalties and collateral consequences can have a significant impact on your life and the lives of those who depend on you. Call Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A. as soon as possible to set up a consultation about your pending charge. Our diligent DUI attorneys in Charleston, SC, have handled many such cases and are effective at negotiating with police officers and prosecuting attorneys. We have repeatedly managed cases where DUI charges have been dismissed or reduced due to our shrewd legal representation*.
Even when the defendant is found guilty, a knowledgeable South Carolina attorney can argue for a reduced sentence and help avoid jail time. Our DUI lawyers are experienced in SC DUI laws and can assist you with your DUI offense. Whether it is your first DUI offense, second, third, etc., call our experienced DUI lawyers in Charleston, SC.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Laws in South Carolina
If you have been charged with a DUI in South Carolina, based on the results of a blood alcohol test, you need an experienced lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. Blood alcohol content (or BAC) is a unit of measurement that indicates how much alcohol is in your bloodstream at the time the test is administered.
The legal blood alcohol content limit in South Carolina is .08%. However, if you are under 21 years of age, the limit is .02%. Also, if you possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the limit is .04%.
Just because you are facing a DUI charge and had BAC results above the legal limit, that does not mean you are automatically guilty. In some cases, results on blood or breath tests are inaccurate.
Blood alcohol tests and field sobriety tests must also be administered according to the exact specifications of South Carolina law. Police officers are required to follow these procedures completely. Occasionally, they fail to do so correctly.
Our knowledgeable DUI lawyers in Charleston have an in-depth understanding of the analysis process and will be able to stand up for you if your rights have been violated. At Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., we will evaluate your specific situation and ensure that the evidence was obtained correctly and legally.
Our experienced team can explore all available options to determine whether the test was administered incorrectly or the results were misinterpreted. Our DUI law firm knows how to build a strong defense for your situation.
Pleading Guilty to a DUI in Charleston
Sometimes a defendant may choose to plead guilty to the charges rather than go to trial. Although this might be an effective option for some cases, you should speak with an experienced lawyer before agreeing to a guilty plea or conviction.
A skilled Charleston DUI attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to seek an optimal result for your situation. Even if you think that you are guilty, a lawyer may review your case and see that your rights might have been violated and the evidence cannot be used against you in court.
Do not plead guilty unless you have spoken with a seasoned attorney who can review the specifics of your case. If you do not want to plead guilty, you need legal counsel to guide you through the process.
At Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., our SC DUI lawyers will look out for your best interests and make sure that your rights are protected from start to finish.
DUI vs. DUAC – What Is the Difference?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” and it is the most common drunk driving charge. South Carolina also has a similar charge known as DUAC, which stands for “driving with unlawful alcohol concentration.”
These two charges are extremely similar. However, for a DUI conviction, the prosecuting attorney must prove the defendant’s impairment. This may be proven using BAC evidence.
For a DUAC conviction, the prosecuting attorney must only prove that the defendant was operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher, even if motor skills were not impacted.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI or DUAC in Charleston, our lawyers are here to provide defense you can trust.
Drunk Driving Accidents
If you were involved in a car accident while driving under the influence, it’s imperative that you find an attorney familiar with South Carolina law.
Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A. is ready to defend you against any type of drunk driving-related charge, including accidents involving property damage, physical injury, or even death. If you were arrested in connection with a traffic collision caused by driving under the influence, we can be the team you need on your side.
Depending on your case, the injured party may choose to press civil claims against you in addition to criminal charges pursued by the state.
Our Charleston DUI attorneys can provide full-service representation related to your accident, including criminal and civil litigation defense.
Aggravating Circumstances in a DUI
Though all DUI charges are serious, some cases may involve additional circumstances that could increase the conviction penalties.
Our DUI lawyers in Charleston are prepared to represent individuals accused of driving under the influence in all cases, including situations involving:
- Repeat offenders,
- Reckless driving,
- Minor children in the vehicle, or
- BAC over .12%.
The more complex your DUI case is, the more necessary it becomes to have competent legal representation. At Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., we are familiar with the local court system, law enforcement officers, and prosecuting attorneys. We will use our abilities to navigate the criminal justice system to work toward a favorable outcome for your unique case.
Administrative Consequences for a DUI in South Carolina
Most people may not realize that DUI charges involve much more than just the courtroom process. There is an administrative process that affects you as well. At Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., our SC DUI lawyers understand how driving under the influence cases work from beginning to end. We can guide you through every step.
From having your driving privileges reinstated to coordinating substance abuse classes and community service, our Charleston DUI attorneys have you covered. We are capable of helping you with court-mandated treatment or ignition interlock installation.
Facing criminal charges in South Carolina can be an intimidating and worrying experience, and we want to best support you through this trying time.
With a proven track record of success*, our lawyers understand just how important it is to present the best possible defense for each and every case. If you have a pending DUI or DUAC in Charleston, Summerville, or the surrounding communities, contact our office to set up a consultation.
Some of the other consequences we can help with include:
- Fighting vehicle forfeiture
- Additional criminal charges – drug arrest or traffic ticket
- Having driving privileges reinstated
- Fighting license revocations
- Restoring driver’s licenses, including referral to the required Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
* The results achieved on behalf of one client in one matter do not necessarily indicate that similar results can be obtained for another client.