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FREE REPORT~Charleston DUI Expert

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FREE REPORT~Charleston DUI Expert

                                                            YOUR Guide to Finding
                                                           The Best DUI Attorney in
                                                               Charleston, SC

   This is your guide to the important next steps in
     protecting yourself from a DUI conviction.

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                                   Table of Contents

        *The Situation and Repercussions*
                  *Your Options*
  *How to Source, Contact and Connect with a DUI
            Attorney in Charleston, SC*
*Important Questions to Ask and Initial Information to
            Provide Your DUI Attorney*
  *An Introduction to John Drennan, DUI Attorney,
                  Charleston, SC*


 Many of us go through life without needing to know the legal language that
law professionals use daily. So when the law becomes an unexpected part
of our lives, it can be confusing to deal with terminology and acronyms that
       are common to the circumstances, used by “those in the know.”
 The following definitions should make it easier for you to be comfortable
    if you find yourself dealing with a DUI charge and the resulting
                         processes and procedures.
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!      The charge itself has many terms
and acronyms: Drunk Driving; DUI;
DUAC, among others.

        All refer to the charge of being
suspected of intoxication over .08% while
operating a vehicle in the state of South
Carolina. This level of blood alcohol
content meets the national standard that
links federal highway dollars with
compliance by all states.

       The charge can refer to driving
under the influence of alcohol, driving
under the influence of drugs, or driving
under the influence of a combination of
alcohol and drugs. Use of prescription and
even nonprescription drugs while driving is
the same as drinking and driving if you
were informed that ingesting those drugs
would impair your operation of a vehicle or

       Officers do not necessarily need to observe someone driving in order to arrest them
for drunk driving. Circumstantial evidence of driving may be sufficient for the officer to
make the charge against the driver.

      Whether or not someone is under the influence is a complicated question, and
many factors must be considered in making that determination in a court of law. It is
important to work with a lawyer in your area who knows DUI law if you have been
accused of DUI.


DUI: Driving while Under the Influence (most commonly used) refers to operating a
motor vehicle (including mopeds) with your mental and physical faculties materially and
appreciably impaired due to the ingestion of alcohol or other substance so that you cannot
drive a vehicle safely.

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DUAC: Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Content: refers to a law that makes it
unlawful for you to drive a vehicle if you have an alcohol content of .08% or more.
Other Terms and Acronyms
BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration or Content): In South Carolina, any driver with a BAC
   above .08% is measured “per se intoxicated” under the law. Under this statute, this
   confirmation is all that is needed for a driver to be convicted of DUI or DWI. Your
   alcohol level may be determined by reference to breath alcohol level as well, without
   having it converted to blood alcohol level.
Code “F”: A DUI conviction results in the permanent designation of Code “F” on your
   driver’s license. South Carolina has the longest “reach back” in the U.S. for such
Elimination: The ability and rate of the body to metabolize alcohol, and eliminate it from
   the system through the functioning of the vital organs. The rate of elimination rate
   varies from person to person, and can even be different for the same person depending
   upon various factors. This is one of the reasons that retrograde extrapolation is such a
   difficult task, and why the results can be uncertain. During elimination, the blood
   alcohol level drops, giving rise to the term “falling curve” to describe the decrease in
   blood alcohol.
Field Sobriety Test (FST): If a driver is pulled over and the law enforcement officer
   suspects intoxication, the driver may be asked to cooperate with standardized field
   sobriety tests, to determine whether the driver is impaired. Most FSTs test balance,
   coordination and the ability of the driver to divide his or her attention among several
   tasks at once using simple physical or cognitive tests to determine the driver’s level of
Implied Consent Law: When you signed for your driver’s license, you implied consent
   that you would agree to a breath, blood or urine test if requested by law enforcement;
   failure to consent can result in the suspension of your license and is a charge separate
   from DUI.
Nystagmus: An involuntary bouncing or jerking of the eye caused by any number of
   vestibular, neurological or physiological disturbances.
Open Container Law: In South Carolina, it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol
   in your vehicle.
Retrograde Extrapolation: The scientific
   term for the ability to assess someone’s
   alcohol level at the time of testing, and
   look backward to determine what the
   alcohol level was at the time of driving.
Vehicle: A motor vehicle, car, truck,
   motorcycle. In South Carolina, a DUI or
   drunk driving conviction can result from
   driving a bicycle, a moped, riding a horse
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   or even a motorized wheelchair while impaired.

Zero tolerance law: In South Carolina, persons under the age of 21 operating a vehicle
   with a .02 percent blood-alcohol level or over are subject to DUI penalties. They could
   face having their license removed for one year. A minor driver found with a BAC over
   the legal adult limit of .08 can be sentenced as an adult.


*The Situation and Repercussions*

        It is not against the law to drink and drive a car. It is against the law to drink and
drive if your mental and physical faculties are materially and appreciably impaired.
       You may be pulled over for a number of reasons such as weaving, driving
slowly or speeding, an illegal lane change, not wearing a seat belt or simply because you
have a tail light out on your car.

       No matter how safely you were driving, if there is reasonable suspicion for a
traffic stop and suspected alcohol consumption, the officer may ask you to perform field
sobriety tests on the scene. If you are arrested, the officer has a legal right to request that
you consent to a breath, blood or urine test to determine intoxication. If you refuse to take
the breath, blood or urine test/s, even if the court determines that you were not intoxicated,
your driver’s license may be administratively suspended for six (6) months to one year, on
the basis of an “Implied Consent Violation,” a separate proceeding from the DUI. The DUI
is dealt with in Municipal Court; a test refusal hearing goes to an Administrative Law
(DMV) Court.

       Being arrested does NOT mean that you are “guilty as charged,” but a “Guilty” plea
can affect you the rest of your life. Many factors can contribute to the eventual resolution
of the charge when in court; a conviction and resulting punishment is not a given when
experienced legal counsel is working on your behalf. It is critically
important to obtain the best possible legal counsel when
faced with a DUI charge.

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        The following Administrative License Suspension/Revocation Penalties are
minimum mandatory penalties imposed on drivers with a blood alcohol concentration
above South Carolina’s maximum permissible level of .15% or on drivers subject to the
implied consent laws for refusing to submit to breath, blood or urine testing for BAC:
• Penalties for a DUI conviction involve suspensions (meaning transitory or permanent
  removal) of the driver’s license by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. For
  the initial DUI offense, the mandatory suspension is six (6) months; second offense, one
  year; third offense, three years.
• IF you are convicted of a DUI charge, your vehicle insurance will be affected.
  The only acceptable insurance coverage is known as SR-22, which can cost as much as
  $2,000 per year, and must be maintained for three years.
• There is a $500 fee to take the mandatory ADSAP course.
• Fines start at over $1,000 for the first offense, escalating thereafter.
• A license reinstatement fee of $100 is charged after the period of suspension ends.
        A lawyer can help you navigate this administrative nightmare and may be able to
get you a temporary license to drive.
     The collateral cost, however, can extend well beyond the obvious
financial expense. A DUI conviction can close doors for employment and career
opportunities, as well as infringe upon your lifestyle choices. And a first DUI conviction
can snowball should other or similar charges arise in the future. The label of “Code F” is
one you DO NOT WANT to have on your driving record.
     It is imperative that you protect yourself from the
possible repercussions of a DUI charge. If you are facing such a charge,
your best defense is based on indepth knowledge of processes and procedures, which can
be properly sourced by consulting with a DUI attorney.
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*Your Options*

        From the initial stop by the police through to appearing in court, it is important to
conduct yourself with dignity and to behave with courtesy toward all officers involved.
        Always respond to a police officer with respect, but avoid providing information
that may be held against you.
        You do have the right to remain silent at all stages of any criminal proceeding,
including answering the initial questions asked by a police officer.
        It is best to simply say “I would like to consult with my lawyer before I answer
any questions.” Be polite, but be firm. You cannot, however, contact an attorney until you
arrive at the police station as you’re not entitled to a lawyer during the actual traffic stop or
the arrest process.
       You also have the legal right to refuse a field sobriety test.
        The law of the land is that a person has the right to remain silent, to not do or say
anything, and to request a lawyer before speaking or otherwise responding, based on the
Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona 384 U.S. 436 (1966). It’s 80 pages long and
meant to protect people from interrogations.
       You have the right to represent yourself in legal matters if you choose to do so by
defending yourself in court. It is usually, however, a good idea to consult with a lawyer. A
trained and experienced DUI attorney knows how to investigate and evaluate a case in
order to obtain the best possible result for you. The criminal penalties and civil penalties
resulting from a DUI/DUAC conviction are so serious that a person should never consider
“pleading guilty” before consulting with a DUI attorney.

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*How to Source, Contact and Connect with a DUI Attorney in
Charleston, SC*
        There are several factors to take into consideration when hiring a DUI attorney. The
following information will provide you with a sensible guide so that you can take effective
steps in dealing with the situation in which you find yourself.
        Large law firms are not the deciding factor. Size does not guarantee that they
are experienced or exceptional at representing DUI cases; many large firms refer DUIs
to a lawyer who is solo and 100 percent devoted to representing the drivers who have been
thusly charged. Larger firms also represent/defend large insurance and big business —
their primary focus may be the interests of those types of clients.
        With a large law firm, it may very well be more difficult to contact your
attorney directly, and the outcome of your case may depend on whether or
not your attorney gives your case individual and dedicated care.
       You are certain to be under a large amount of stress due to the events that have
prompted you to need a DUI attorney. Working with a small law firm gives you faster,
easier access to a legal professional who can give you the reassurance of the answers you
need when you need them.
       Often, large law firms will require a fee for initial consultation, either on the
phone or in person. If you do not retain that firm to represent you, the fee is non-
refundable. If you do retain the firm, you may find yourself assigned to a lawyer with
whom you are uncomfortable or incompatible, which may require you to spend more
money simply to get a “good fit” with your representation.

A free initial consultation can alleviate such concerns.

       Using e-mail to contact an attorney who specializes in representing and
satisfactorily resolving DUI charges to his clients’ benefit is as simple as clicking   here,
providing easily accessed ongoing communication, which is one of the most
important factors in successfully dealing with your court case.

*Important Questions to Ask and Initial Information to
Provide Your DUI Attorney*

Questions you should ask the DUI attorney:
1.     How much experience handling DUI cases do you have?
2.     What is your rate of success in defending your clients against DUI
       charges? How many DUI cases have you won in trial?

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3.    What will it take for you to win this for me?
4.    Can you persuade a prosecutor to help me?

Initial information you should provide to your DUI attorney:
1.    The behaviors or circumstances that motivated the police officer to place
      the DUI charge against you at the time of the incident; the reason for you
      being stopped.
2.    Any previous DUI charges and/or convictions, with date and other
      relevant information (10-year driving record).
3.    The nature of the tests administered at the time of the traffic incident.
4.    All paperwork given to you by the police.
5.    A comprehensive, documented list of any physical/medical conditions.
6.   Contact information for any witnesses.


Q.    How much can I have to drink and still drive legally?
A.    While the legal BAC in South Carolina is .08, remember that one drink,
      whether wine, beer or liquor, may affect you differently according to your
      body weight and height than it affects someone else.

Q.    How much does it cost to get my license back if it is suspended after my
A.    This can depend on a number of factors that your trained and experienced
      DUI attorney can help you determine. Filing fee for a hearing is $150.00 and
      the issues presented at the hearing must be, of necessity, very technical and
      indepth to prevail.

Q.    What is the Mandatory Alcohol & Drug Action Safety Program (ADSAP)
A.    Alcohol education and prevention program, treatment for alcohol abuse and
      assessment of a person for possible alcohol or drug craving can be an
      alternative for DUI offenders in South Carolina, instead of serving a sentence
      of incarceration or paying fines. ADSAP enrollment and attendance is
      mandatory if you do not request an administrative hearing and/or get
      convicted of DUI. A new South Carolina law addresses failure to enroll in
      ADSAP resulting in a charge of contempt of court and incarceration in jail.

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Q.   If I appeared to be drunk on video, how can that be refuted?
A.   Based on South Carolina case law and the U.S. Constitution’s 4th, 5th and 6th
     Amendments, videotapes are not always permissible. Statute 56-5-2953 is
     also very important to your case! An experienced and trained DUI attorney
     can navigate this area and suppress such evidence with factual and legal
     review. The video law of South Carolina can work for you in the hands of a
     trained and skilled DUI attorney.

Q.   What are chemical tests?
A.   A Breathalyzer, blood analysis or urinalysis can determine a driver’s BAC
     through testing of the breath, blood or urine. If other drugs are suspected, a
     blood test or urine test is used. While these tests are technically voluntary,
     refusal carries a suspension of driving privileges, but an experienced DUI
     attorney can avoid that suspension for you and arrange a temporary license to
     drive during the court proceedings. Under newest South Carolina DUI law, a
     higher breath alcohol reading can result in more jail time! Sometime a refusal
     may be advisable.

Q.   How is this going to affect my career and my life in general?
A.   A DUI arrest and conviction can diminish the overall quality of your personal
     and employment future. How you handle the next steps after an arrest for DUI
     can make a tremendous difference. We live in a highly competitive world
     where background checks are common at the employment level and in the
     marketplace. DUI convictions are NOT removed from your permanent record.
     It is always preferable to have a clean record.

Q.   Will I go to jail?
A.   This depends on extensive research of many items before and during your
     traffic incident that are contingent on the thorough knowledge of your DUI

Q.   How much is the fine?
A.   The fine at the time of a first DUI conviction begins at $1,000 and rises
     according to the severity of the conviction. Total costs (not including possible
     jail time) over time could be upward of $10,000.

Q.   If I took the Breathalyzer test, can I still be defended?
A.   Possibly, yes. There are many factors involved that determine the accuracy of
     the DataMaster Breathalyzer readings, if your DUI attorney has extensive
     familiarity with both the equipment and pertinent precedence.

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Q.    Did I have to do the field sobriety test?
A.    Your legal rights enable you to not agree to subject yourself to field sobriety
      testing for a number of reasons. Were your legal rights violated? If so, a well-
      trained DUI attorney can establish a case.

Q.    What if I admitted that I drank to the officer?
A. Just admitting that you drank alcohol does not take into effect “Retrograde
          Extrapolation” as well as several other factors that may help reduce or
          exonerate you from a looming DUI conviction.
        *An Introduction to John Drennan, DUI Attorney,
                        Charleston, SC*

       If you have been charged with a DUI offense, I offer a free meeting by phone
(for your convenience) to determine if the extensive services we provide are
suitable for your situation and whether I can resolve your problem. If you are,
for any reason, unable to work with me (location or other consideration), I will
provide you with a reference to another attorney whose work I respect. I have
handled several out-of-state clients and have an extensive network of DUI attorneys
all over the country who can help you.
       Beginning with the free consultation, I work with you to determine if your
case is likely to have a satisfactory result. Once our representation is mutually
formalized, we will work tirelessly to add you to our growing list of more than 300
successfully resolved DUI cases.
       The burden of proof to support an arrest is “probable cause.” The burden of
proof in being convicted in a court of law is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The
former is like stepping over a brick, the latter is a high hurdle — the highest
standard of any type of case in an American court. “Probable cause” is simply an
officer’s opinion; “beyond a reasonable doubt” is a burden of proof that requires the
production of legally accepted evidence that must be presented to a trial court or
jury. Opinions carry little weight. Evidence, the lack of evidence or the conflicts of
evidence in your particular case decide the outcome of your case.
       As your DUI attorney, I will personally handle every legal aspect of your case
with the accumulation of years of knowledge, trial success and proven abilities
working to your benefit. Framing and crafting successful arguments that win DUI
cases before a Judge require experience and knowledge, the basis of my law firm’s
practice. More than 2,000 clients have benefited from reduced charges, “not guilty”
verdicts and case dismissals due to my skills.
                            Phone: (843) 225-ADUI (2384)

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Disclaimer: This information is not deemed nor intended to be legal advice. It is for the sole purpose of
providing information to someone accused of driving under the influence so that they are well-informed
                                     when they do seek an attorney.


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