What happens if you are pulled over for a DUI?

An arrest for driving under the influence in South Carolina has the potential to affect your future in significant ways, but what happens in the moments immediately after a law enforcement officer pulls you over for potential DUI? According to the Greenville News, the first step is to determine whether your blood alcohol concentration is beneath the legal limit of 0.08. To do this, the officer will conduct a series of field sobriety tests. These may include basic tests of motor skills and cognition. If you pass these tests, you are free to go.

If you fail the field tests, you will have to spend the night in jail, and law enforcement will move on to chemical testing of your breath and, possibly, urine. A urine test only occurs after a driver has failed a breath test, and it can take weeks to get the results back.

Refusal to take the tests also carries consequences. If you refuse to take a breath test, you will have your driver license automatically suspended for six months. Additionally, you will face charges. This is because implied consent laws presume that by applying for and obtaining a driver license, you have already agreed to take these tests when law enforcement deems them necessary. 

If the arrest results in charges, you have three options: 

  • Request a jury trial
  • Request a bench trial
  • Plead guilty and accept the penalties

If you request a jury trial, there will be a delay of six to 12 months before your court date. A bench trial, in which a magistrate judge decides your fate rather than a jury, usually takes place more quickly. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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