5 reasons to hire an attorney when facing a DUI in South Carolina

Hiring a criminal defense attorney is essential for people who are facing a DUI charge in South Carolina.

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, nearly 27,000 people in the state were arrested last year on charges of driving under the influence. Not every charge, however, will lead to a conviction. In fact, it is possible to secure reduced charges, a dismissed case or lessened sentences.

In order to do so, it is imperative to hire a criminal defense attorney. Here are several reasons that people facing a DUI in South Carolina should contact a lawyer:

1. Jail time

The SCDPS notes that even someone's first DUI offense could carry with it 48 hours of imprisonment. The length of incarceration grows with the number of offenses and the severity of the case. For a fourth or subsequent offense, someone could fast as much as five years in prison.

These are the penalties associated with a basic DUI case. If the incident resulted in serious injury or death, the prison time is even longer. By law, a fatal DUI accident could land someone in jail for as long as 25 years. Lawyers know how to negotiate a sentence or illustrate that the charges brought against a defendant are inappropriate. Through hiring a skilled attorney, a defendant could literally save years of freedom.

2. Loss of driving privileges

In addition to imprisonment, someone convicted of a DUI will lose driving privileges. The timeframe for a suspension can last for six months to two years, or, in some cases, privileges can be permanently revoked. Losing a license can have a serious effect on someone's professional and personal life. An attorney will know not only how to prevent this from happening, but also how to help someone get a license reinstated.

3. Legal complexities

Some people are tempted to represent themselves in court in an effort to save time or money. However, legal proceedings are fraught with jargon and procedural rules. Someone unfamiliar with the process could make even a simple mistake that would lead to unfavorable results.

4. Creative defense strategies

An attorney who has years of experience representing people who face DUI charges knows what to look for in terms of building a defense. For example, sobriety tests are not always accurate, or the arresting officer may have made an error in terms of due process. An attorney knows the laws and knows how to protect a driver's rights.

The sooner an attorney is involved, the better. A lawyer can ensure that someone is treated fairly from the moment the arrest occurs. Further, he or she can review the details of the case and get to work on building a successful defense strategy. Anyone facing a DUI charge in South Carolina should contact a criminal defense attorney.