Aaron De Bruin - DUI Defense Lawyer
An arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Greenville, South Carolina is a serious matter. A DUI arrest is a situation that can result in the loss of your job, the loss of your license, having to pay a fine, or even facing jail time. Defending yourself from the penalties and consequences of a DUI can be a difficult and confusing process.
Driving Under the Influence In South Carolina
The first step in defending your rights is deciding whether you want an attorney to protect your rights and guide you through this daunting process.The second step is contacting the De Bruin Law Firm to arrange a free case evaluation to determine proper steps to resolving your case. Here at the De Bruin Law Firm, Aaron De Bruin seeks to resolve your case with the most favorable outcome. As a former prosecutor in the United States Marine Corps, Aaron has learned it is best to attack each case on two fronts at the same time. He will work to get you the best deal possible while preparing for trial. That way, you will have all options available when making the decision best for you.
Sometimes, it may seem easier to just plead guilty. Remember though, a DUI is on your record forever. That conviction will follow you into job interviews or school applications. Just because you’re arrested for drunk driving, doesn’t mean that you’re guilty. Often a police officer’s interpretation and perception determine whether a person is arrested for DUI. But perception is not always reality. You have rights, you have a story to tell, and Aaron De Bruin will help tell it.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA DUI CHARGES
Because Aaron knows that people have many questions and concerns when they are arrested for DUI, he has provided answers to common questions about DUI in South Carolina.
What Should I look For in a DUI Lawyer?
The first requirement of your criminal defense attorney is to zealously defend you in court. “Zealous representation” means that your defense attorney is fully engaged in representing you. They must have active involvement in every process related to your defense, both before and during the trial. Your attorney must respond to any inquires made of them, and they must promptly attend any criminal proceedings and represent you there.
Next, your attorney must advocate on your behalf. This means that your defense attorney must represent you to the very best of their abilities and raise any potential viable defense in court. However, they are not required to raise any frivolous or unfounded defenses on your behalf.
EFFECTIVE AND ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION
Lastly, your criminal defense attorney must effectively and adequately represent you. Effective representation means that your defense attorney has followed all of the necessary procedures conscientiously, and has represented you in all of the proceedings, both pretrial and during the trial. Additionally, it means that your attorney properly advised you about the charges against you, and informed you of your rights.
IF YOUR COUNSEL ISN’T EFFECTIVE
Under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution, you are entitled to a fair trial, which includes effective assistance of counsel. In the event that you don’t believe you have received effective or adequate representation, you may appeal your conviction on these grounds. In order to successfully do this, you must demonstrate that your attorney’s conduct was detrimental to the proceedings of your trial, so much so that the results of the trial are unreliable. This does not mean that your defense attorney cannot have made any errors. Rather, you are protected from your defense attorney’s performance if it directly undermined the adversarial process of the trial. If proven correct, you may be entitled to a retrial.
If you need a criminal defense attorney in South Carolina, contact The De Bruin Law Firm. We provide our clients with effective legal counsel for a variety of charges. Call us today for more details.
What Should I Do After a DUI Arrest?
If you’ve been arrested in the upstate for DUI, you’re likely to spend the night in jail while your charges are processed. Once released, you will have some important decisions to make regarding your future. One of those decisions is whether or not to hire a defense attorney. The South Carolina DUI defense attorney should be someone knowledgeable about South Carolina’s DUI laws and who has experience successfully defending clients accused of driving under the influence in the Upstate.
Aaron De Bruin has experience with DUI defense in Anderson, Spartanburg, Pickens, and Greenville.
If you’ve taken the first step in defending your rights and you’re ready to meet with Aaron for a free case evaluation, contact the De Bruin Law Firm today.
Do I have to talk to the police officer during a stop if I have been drinking?
While you are obligated to offer the police officer your driver’s license and registration, you are not required to answer questions about other issues like your activities or location prior to driving. Officers often ask questions like the following:
- Where were you coming from or going to when I pulled you over?
- Have you had anything to drink tonight?
- Can I have consent to search your vehicle?
The officer hopes to obtain evidence that justifies a DUI investigation and contributes toward probable cause for a DUI arrest. During this period of interaction, the officer also will look for physical signs of intoxication like red, watery eyes, slurred speech, lack of coordination, and the odor of alcohol on your breath. Since all of the information gathered during these interactions will be used to justify extending the stop and conducting a DUI investigation, you generally should decline to answer any questions without talking to an attorney.
Should I agree to participate in standardized field sobriety (SFSTs) tests?
When an officer asks you to participate in these divided attention tasks, he has already assumed you are intoxicated. The tests are administered merely to provide additional evidence justifying probable cause for a DUI arrest. Since poor performance on SFSTs can be attributed to many factors that have nothing to do with imbibing alcohol, drivers have no real incentive to participate. Admittedly, you will not avoid an arrest by refusing to participate, but you are depriving the officer of evidence that can be used to establish probable cause and that the prosecutor would use in your criminal case.
If you have been charged with a crime, you likely have many questions you want answered, some of which may be about the role of your defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney has many duties once they have been appointed to defend their client in court. In this blog, we will give a brief overview of these duties so you know what to expect from your criminal defense attorney.
ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES OF A SOUTH CAROLINA DUI CONVICTION
While a guilty plea to a DUI charge might seem like an appealing way to obtain a quick resolution to your case, the penalties associated with a DUI conviction, as well as the long-term consequence can have a major impact on your future. The immediate penalties for a first-time DUI include:
- 2-30 days for .08-.10 BAC
- 3-30 days for BAC above .10 and under .16
- 30-90 days for BAC over .16
These driver’s license suspensions are in addition to any administrative suspension, such as a suspension for failing to participate in a chemical test of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under South Carolina’s Implied Consent Law.
[Penalties increase for subsequent offenses]
Driver’s License Suspension
- 1st offense results in mandatory six (6) month suspension
- [2nd offense can result in a license suspension up to a year]
- 1st offense carries a fine of $400 to $1,000
- [Fines increase dramatically to $2,100 and $6,500 for a 2nd offense]
Mandatory Participation in Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
- Mandatory completion of ADSAP with a cost of between $500-$2000.
Although these penalties can constitute a major disruption of your life, the ancillary consequences of a DUI conviction can be even more devastating. A conviction of DUI is a criminal offense rather than a mere traffic violation, so your rap sheet will make the DUI discoverable by landlords and employers. The fact your DUI conviction is a matter of public record could interfere with your ability to obtain rental housing or prevent your promotion or hiring.
Along with the fines and ADSAP fee, your conviction also will have other costs that include higher insurance rates, potential costs associated with an Ignition Interlock Device, attorney fees, driver’s license reinstatement fees, and court costs. Depending on the specifics of your situation, a DUI could even impact your constitutional rights, immigration rights, and expose you to more serious penalties for future convictions.
DEFENSES TO DUI CHARGES
If you have been arrested for DUI, there may be one or more defenses available in your case. With the assistance of your defense attorney, you will be able to provide support for these defenses and possibly have your charges reduced or dismissed.
The Breathalyzer is used to measure the amount of alcohol in a driver’s blood. The officer will have the driver blow into the Breathalyzer, and the Breathalyzer will then provide a reading that shows the driver’s blood alcohol content. However, the Breathalyzer must be used correctly and calibrated properly for it to provide an accurate reading. In addition, there may be legal reasons that a driver’s breath shows a high Breathalyzer reading. For example, some have argued that mouthwash may trigger a higher reading. In some diabetics, the Breathalyzer results are skewed because of unique biological characteristics.
There are also numerous defenses available for failed field sobriety tests. A field sobriety test is a way for law enforcement to measure how impaired a driver is. There are three field sobriety tests. In the walk and turn test, a driver must walk a straight line, turn, and walk back, following the officer’s specific instructions. The officer will also perform a horizontal nystagmus test, during which the officer will look for involuntary movements in the driver’s eyes that occur with heavy drinking. Finally, the officer will ask the driver to stand on one leg and count, again with specific instructions.
In each of these tests, the officer is looking for physical signs that the driver is impaired. Is the driver able to balance on one leg? Do the driver’s eyes involuntarily move back and forth? Can the driver count coherently? If the driver fails these tests, the officer may arrest the driver for driving under the influence.
However, there are legitimate reasons for failing a field sobriety test. Physical conditions are often the culprit. In addition, environmental conditions, such as an uneven walking surface, may also cause a driver to fail a test. With a strong DUI defense attorney, you may be able to argue that you should not have been arrested.
South Carolina DUI laws
In South Carolina, a driver may be arrested for driving under the influence if the driver’s blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher. A conviction may result in fines, community service, jail time, and a suspended license. With each subsequent DUI conviction, the penalties become more severe.
However, not every arrest for DUI will result in a conviction. To protect your legal rights, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Statements that you make to police officers, prosecutors, and other individuals may be used against you. Therefore, it is important to hire an attorney so that your attorney may speak on your behalf and protect your interests.
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