6 Tips for What to Do After a DUI Arrest in Columbia, SC

6 Tips for What to Do After a DUI Arrest in Columbia, SC

Were you recently arrested for a DUI and need advice? Are you unsure of how to proceed? We're here to give you 6 tips on what to do after a DUI arrest.

Your recent DUI arrest is something you'd rather forget but probably won't be able to. Getting pulled over and then hauled into the local station for anything is an embarrassing, humiliating experience.

It's made worse when you don't know what to do after a DUI.

After your first arrest, it may be tempting to ask friends and family who've been in the same boat for advice. Following advice given by anyone who isn't a barred lawyer is a mistake.

In the past several years, DUI law has grown increasingly more complicated. Procedures and protocols have changed.

The only people who are required to keep up with the changes are DUI lawyers and law enforcement officers.

Let's cover six tips for what to do after a DUI.

1. Take A Chemical Test

In South Carolina, you are not bound to do a field sobriety test. These tests consist of using a breathalyzer to gauge the amount of alcohol you've been drinking.

If you do refuse the field sobriety test, the officer will likely order you to take a chemical test at the station. The chemical test will measure either your blood or urine to determine how much alcohol you've consumed.

It is important to note that if you refuse to take the field sobriety test, you absolutely must take the chemical test. Not doing so will hurt your case in court. Plus, it will almost definitely be required by the officer who brought you in.

South Carolina law requires arrestees to take the field sobriety test within two hours of arrest. Chemical tests must be taken with three hours after the arrest.

2. Write Down What Happened

There is an old saying that goes, "The devil is in the details." The outcome of DUI cases is based on the details given in court.

You may think, "What does the judge need to know besides the test results?" The test results aren't the only thing the judge will take into consideration when ruling.

To examine the details of your case, write down everything you remember from your arrest. Where and at what time were you pulled over? How did you respond to the officer?

But don't just think about you. Think about the officer.

Why did he say he pulled you over? If he gave you the field sobriety test, what did the breathalyzer look like? Were any other field sobriety tests (such as walking or balancing) administered?

A mistake on the part of the officer could cause your case to be thrown out.

3. Get Witnesses

Search high and low for anyone you were with before, during, and after your arrest. Ask them if they would be willing to testifying on your behalf during your hearing.

Witnesses can be crucial to winning a DUI case. That holds true even if they can't testify to exactly what happened at the time of your arrest. They can still attest to your high morals and character, especially if this is your first DUI.

4. Maintain A Private Online Presence

It is a fact that police agencies use social media and tracking software to monitor potential criminal activity.

The means don't have to be sophisticated, either. Some officers start fake profiles using stock photos and add those whom they're monitoring to their friends list. That way, they have full access to your profile and know when you post something you shouldn't.

After you get a DUI charge, you should go to great lengths to make your online presence private. Make sure all information is set to friends-only. Delete anyone you don't know in real life.

And above all, delete any incriminating posts and pictures, including old ones. Photos from a party two years ago where you got smashed could be used to portray you as a serial drunk in court.

Additionally, don't make any new posts about your DUI charge or anything related to it.

5. Hire A DUI Lawyer

Lawyers specialize in different areas of the law. The kind of lawyer you need is one who specializes in DUI law. Hiring a DUI lawyer ensures the lawyer is up-to-date on DUI law and proceedings.

Bear in mind that not all lawyers are created equally. Read reviews of any lawyer you're thinking of hiring and gauge whether or not they're competent with DUI law.

If you can't find adequate reviews of the lawyer in question, try a local referral center. They may know of a local lawyer who fits the bill.

Additionally, you can ask friends, family, and neighbors if they know of a lawyer who can help you.

Be aware that some DUI lawyers specialize in plea deals while others specialize in trials.

When you find a lawyer you may want to hire, arrange a meeting. While in the appointment, check their credentials and experience. Gauge how they advise you on what to do after a DUI.

6. Make Better Choices

Everyone is human and bound to make mistakes.

However, some mistakes are more condemning than others. And one of those mistakes is getting a DUI.

In the future, you should take better precautions when you drink. When you go out, don't drink if you plan on driving. If you do drink, have a friend or taxi drive you home.

You don't want multiple doors to close on you because of one mistake.

Still Not Sure What To Do After A DUI? Contact Us!

How you handle a DUI can have a huge impact on your future. For that reason, you should consult the best DUI lawyer you can find.

At Reeves and Lyle, we understand your situation. We know people make mistakes. And we've represented, advised, and supported many clients who've faced DUI charges.

If you're still unsure what to do after a DUI or you need representation, feel free to reach out to us.

Your future depends on it.

Worried young driver

Suspicion of DUI: 5 Tips You need to Know

Being pulled over on suspicion of DUI is already a bad sign. Here are 5 tips to make interaction with the police and your trial easy to handle.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is illegal everywhere in America. And if your driving habits or behavior suggest you're intoxicated, you're likely to be pulled over under suspicion of DUI.

Drunk or intoxicated driving is a big deal! The CDC tells us that over one-third of all traffic-related deaths are from drunk driving. That's over ten thousand people every year.

A suspicion of DUI, if it happens to you, is a major threat. A lot of consequences will come of that moment, so you should make the wisest decisions and be educated on how to respond.

Below, we've put together a list of 5 pieces of advice about a suspicion of DUI and how to handle it.

1. Don't Drink and Drive: The Penalty is Heavy

You will never want to be responsible for death or damage because of drunk driving. Beyond any legal or lawful circumstances, the guilt of killing or even severely injuring another person will last forever.

It may only be a single drink that sets you over the limit, a single drink for a lifetime of guilt. And that's before all the legal stuff starts kicking in.

If you're pulled over under suspicion of DUI, there are at least two charges you could face:

  • A charge that you were driving with a blood alcohol level of over .08%, and
  • A charge acknowledging that you were too impaired to drive because of drugs and/or alcohol

Obviously, the law is a lot more complicated than that, but it should give you an idea of the some of the consequences.

What Consequences?

For starters, if you're convicted of a DUI, you will be losing your license. For how long depends on the offense and the state. Chances are, it'll be at least a year of no driving after being stopped by an officer.

There's a big chance you could go to prison for about a year and/or have to pay fines of thousands of dollars. Insurance will be canceled on your vehicle, and future insurance rates are very likely to go sky high.

And if you damage property or hurt anyone while under suspicion of DUI, things get a lot worse. Fast.

The best advice out there is not to drink and drive in the first place.

2. When You Should Refuse The Breathalyzer Test

There is no magical rule of thumb that will let you know when to take the test or not. It all depends on the situation, previous convictions, present standing with the law, etc.

The breathalyzer test, or Preliminary Breath Test (PBT), will gauge the amount of alcohol in your blood.

The legal limit for driving is .08%, and should you cross that, consequences are severe.

If it's an option, you should always talk to your attorney first. Understand, though, that refusal or accepting to take the breathalyzer test can be used against you in court.

However, there are some extreme examples where refusing the breathalyzer test might be your best option:

  • You have been pulled over for suspicion of DUI before or have been arrested for it;
  • You likely have a BAC of .20% or higher;
  • or, you were involved in an accident that caused someone else serious injury or death

At that point, getting in touch with your lawyer is your safest bet.

If you have been drinking recently and are beyond the legal limit for driving, using the breathalyzer is cause for immediate arrest.

3. Refusing the Coordination Test

The coordination test might include things like standing on one foot or walking across a straight line. These actions test the driver's coordination, which, if they're driving, should be good enough to walk a straight line.

Just as refusing the breathalyzer, refusing the coordination test might seem to officers like you're guilty. But considering circumstances, you might refuse the test to talk with your attorney first.

Again, speaking with your attorney is the surest way of avoiding jail time. Know that refusing a test could be used as evidence in your trial.

4. How to Respond to Questions From Police

Citizens don't have to answer any questions that are meant to be incriminating. It would be wisest to request to speak with your attorney if stopped for suspicion of DUI.

The police, in certain circumstances, may not permit you to contact your attorney until after declining testing.

They might ask you things like:

  • What were you doing before you got in your car?
  • How many drinks and how much food did you have?
  • Do you have any physical inabilities?
  • Where are you heading?

These are normal procedures for police officers trying to keep the roads safe. If you truly only had a beer or two, then this shouldn't be incriminating. It might help to mention you had a drink if the smell of alcohol is on your breath.

5. What to Do if You're Arrested

In the event that you are arrested, you need to build up enough evidence for your attorney to make a case. Even having someone you know testify at the police station about your intoxication can be used.

Don't rely on first test results, either. It might be a good idea to offer to take a second test. This could help to remove unfavorable or incorrect results.

Sometimes this means posting bond first. Again, your attorney will know how to best leverage your situation. Contact them as soon as possible, and definitely if you're arrested.

Be Prepared in Case of a Suspicion of DUI

Far from assisting those who would endanger the road, we advise that every citizen know their rights and be prepared. A DUI or even just the suspicion of DUI is a serious and scary ordeal.

Be in touch with your lawyer in case such an incident should arise. The best advice we can give is not to drink and drive in the first place. Safety, for everyone, should always be a priority.

If you do get into a DUI or DWI situation, make sure to contact your lawyer as soon as possible.

Looking for more insightful law advice? Do you need an attorney? Contact us at Reeves and Lyle and let us know today!

Photo by AlexRaths/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by AlexRaths/iStock / Getty Images

Columbia, SC