When could a DUI net a felony charge?

While most in Florence recognize drunk driving as being a serious charge, the general assumption may be that should you be convicted of such a crime, your punishment will likely be that of a misdemeanor offense (provided that it is your first conviction). However, there are circumstances where such an offense could net you a felony charge. The question is whether or not your case meets the criteria for such a charge.

Section 56-5-2945 of the Code of South Carolina states that if you cause an accident that results in the serious injury or death of another, you could face a felony charge if the following two conditions are met: First, you have to have been proven to be under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two. Second, you must also be engaged in some other act that is forbidden by law or is neglectful any of duty imposed by the law. Such offenses may include:

  •          Speeding
  •          Running through a stop light or stop sign
  •          Driving on the wrong side of the road
  •          Failing to yield the right-of-way
  •          Failing to indicate a turn

Furthermore, the concurrent act must be determined to be the cause of the accident. A conviction under these circumstances could result in imprisonment for up to 15 years if any of those involved sustained serious injuries.

Several factors may exist outside of your control that could also contribute to an accident, such as poor road conditions, bad weather or low visibility. Thus, it may be difficult for law enforcement officers or prosecutors to sufficiently prove that any of those conditions did not have just as big of an influence in causing an accident as your actions and supposed impairment allegedly did.

 

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