SC Law Blog

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DUI Legal Advice

In Myrtle Beach and throughout the state of South Carolina, police have been cracking down on drunk driving. By targeting drunk drivers, police save lives and protect the public which is generally a good thing. However, it is not illegal to drink and then drive, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while materially impaired. I tell my potential clients, they cannot afford to get a DUI. It is well worth the cost of what an attorney will charge opposed to incurring the cost of a DUI. While this may seem self serving, the cost of a DUI at the present time is estimated anywhere from $10,000.00 - $15,000.00. If you’re in Myrtle Beach, live on the Grand Strand or any where in the state of South Carolina, these are the things you need to know if stopped by a police officer for suspicion of driving under the influence. 1. Don’t drive after you have consumed alcohol. - Much like the first rule of birth control (abstinence), it is the most effective but least practical thing to practice. 2. You have the right to remain silent and the right not to incriminate yourself - Hand the officer your license and insurance card and remain silent or say “I am invoking my right not to incriminate myself or 5th Amendment right. 3.Do not take the field sobriety test - If they’re asking you to follow their pen with your eyes or walk a straight line, the officer already knows he is taking you to jail. He is merely trying to strengthen his case by having you do these things in front of his camera. These exercises are not to change his mind, they are to build his case. 4. Refuse the breathalyzer and/or refuse to provide any bodily fluids - A person who just used mouthwash can test positive for alcohol with a breathalyzer. Under the new South Carolina DUI laws, the higher your blood alcohol level the more you are fined and the more time you will spend in jail. 5. Ask to speak to your lawyer (Daniel Selwa, of course) - This will not get you immediate access to your attorney but will stop their questioning and may provide your attorney with a legal advantage in your defense. Under recent changes in case law, however, you must re-assert this right of asking to speak to your attorney each time the officer tries to illicit information. 6. Respect the officer and be polite - When I talk to any officer who has arrested one of my clients for DUI, the first thing they recall is how my client acted towards them. Keep in mind, if you are absolutely positive you will pass a sobriety test because you are stone cold sober and you do not take any medications whatsoever, then do so. However, if you have any doubt, follow the 6 points above and call me immediately.

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