Imagine you’re out with some friends, enjoying a casual beer or two after a long week of work. You bid the group goodbye, get in your car, and begin to drive home. Suddenly, you see blue lights flashing behind you. You pull over, and, a few minutes later, find yourself in the back of a police car, charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Being arrested for DUI is a scary experience, one that can leave you terrified for your future and unsure of what steps to take next. Taking the right steps after a DUI charge can make a big difference in whether or not you’re convicted. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Columbia, here’s what you should know.
Steps to Take After Being Charged with DUI in South Carolina
Hire an Attorney
DUI cases are often more complicated than they initially seem, and while you may think that you can handle your case on your own, that may not be a wise decision. Having the right attorney on your side can ensure that you’re scheduling hearings on time, finding the right evidence, and crafting the strongest defense possible to help you avoid conviction.
Get Your Car
More likely than not, upon your arrest, your car was impounded so that it would not be left on the side of the road. If this is the case, you’ll want to get your car as soon as possible, since impound lots typically charge you per day holding your vehicle.
In the event your license is suspended, make sure you bring two people with you so one person is able to drive your car home. This brings us to our next step: licensing issues.
Address Licensing Issues
Upon being arrested for DUI, you may have your license suspended. However, even if your regular license is suspended, you can obtain a different license in order to still be able to drive. To do this, you need to request an “implied consent hearing” within 30 days of your arrest. Upon scheduling this hearing, you may be allowed the following types of licenses:
Temporary Alcohol License
While you are waiting to hear back about your implied consent hearing, you may request a Temporary Alcohol License that allows you to drive until your hearing. This license does not hold any route restrictions.
Route Restricted License
If your regular license is still suspended after your implied consent hearing, you may apply for a Route Restricted License. This allows you to drive to work, school, and ordered Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ASDAP) classes.
In the event that you are convicted of a first offense DUI or DUAC (Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration), you may still be able to qualify for a Provisional License that allows you unrestricted driving privileges during your six-month regular suspension. This may also only be given to those who did not refuse a chemical test at the time of their arrest.
Stick to Conditions of Bail
In order to avoid additional penalties, you must follow the conditions of your bail and orders of the court. This can include:
Being of good behavior in the eyes of the law
Avoiding leaving the state without the court’s permission
Addressing any additional traffic infractions or criminal charges
Making assigned court appearances
You can work with your DUI attorney to ensure everything is in order and you do not attend court alone, without proper guidance.