DUI Lawyer in Myrtle Beach, SC

Daniel A. Selwa, Attorney at Law, is a DUI lawyer located in Surfside Beach, SC, who accepts driving under the influence cases in Horry County, Georgetown County, and the surrounding areas.

Whether you were stopped because an officer suspected you were driving under the influence, stopped for a traffic violation that turned into a DUI arrest, or arrested at a DUI checkpoint, you need to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer immediately who can investigate the charges, speak to law enforcement and prosecutors on your behalf, request a jury trial, request your implied consent hearing, and work to get your charges dismissed or win them at trial.

Do not delay – call your DUI defense lawyer now, because:

  • You may need to request a jury trial in writing before your initial court date if you are charged in the magistrate or municipal court,
  • You may need to request an implied consent hearing within 30 days if your license has been suspended, and
  • The state has a trained prosecutor who is preparing your case for trial – you need a trained DUI advocate on your side as well.

DUI attorney Daniel Selwa regularly represents clients accused of driving under the influence, stays abreast of developments in SC DUI laws and trial skills training, and has successfully defended DUI cases in SC’s General Sessions Courts, magistrate courts, and municipal courts in Horry County, Georgetown County, and the surrounding area.

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An Horry County DUI Attorney Who Cares

At the Surfside Beach, SC, DUI defense law firm of Daniel A. Selwa, Attorney at Law, we understand that DUI charges can happen to anyone – blue-collar workers, white-collar executives, soccer moms, preachers, teachers, and even cops get caught in the wide net cast by SC law enforcement.

The consequences for a DUI conviction are more serious than many people realize – including the loss of your driver’s license as well as substantial fines, court costs, and prison time – and can never be expunged from your record in South Carolina.

When you call our DUI defense law office for help with your DUI charges, we will:

  • Meet with you to learn about your case and your situation,
  • Answer your questions about your case and DUI law in SC,
  • Request a jury trial if your case is in the magistrate or municipal court,
  • Request an implied consent hearing if your license was suspended under SC’s implied consent laws,
  • Obtain all evidence the state intends to use against you as well as any exculpatory evidence in their possession,
  • Issue subpoenas or FOIA requests as needed to gather additional evidence,
  • Download reports from SLED’s database on the Datamaster machine used for your breath test and your arresting officer/ Datamaster operator,
  • Locate and interview any potential sobriety witnesses,
  • Identify and research the potential legal issues in your case,
  • Draft and file any motions to dismiss or suppress evidence,
  • Assist you in locating and retaining any experts that are needed for your defense,
  • Negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to get your charges dismissed or to find an acceptable resolution, and
  • Try your case to a jury if the charges are not dismissed or an agreement is not reached.

Learn About SC DUI Laws

DUI Laws in South Carolina

SC Code Section 56-5-2930 says that it is unlawful for a person to:

  1. Drive a motor vehicle within the State,
  2. While under the influence of alcohol or other drugs,
  3. To the extent that their faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired.

If you were not driving – for example, if you are sitting in the car but it is not moving, you were not driving under the influence.

If you “faculties to drive” were not “materially and appreciably impaired” – even if the breathalyzer says your blood alcohol content was greater than .08 – you were not driving under the influence.

DUAC in South Carolina

Driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration, or DUAC, is SC’s “per-se law.”

SC Code Section 56-5-2933 says that it is unlawful for a person to:

  1. Drive a motor vehicle within the state,
  2. While their blood alcohol is .08 or more.

If you are charged with DUAC, they don’t have to prove that your faculties to drive were materially and appreciably impaired – they only need to prove that your BAC was .08 or greater.

As a practical matter, this means that 1) there must be a BAC result – if you refused the breath test, you won’t be charged with DUAC, and 2) a DUAC trial can easily become a “battle of the experts” if the BAC results are not excluded.

Felony DUI in South Carolina

Felony DUI is charged in SC when there is a DUI-related accident that results in serious injury or death. The potential penalties are much more severe than an “ordinary” DUI, and prosecutors will more aggressively pursue a conviction.

To prove felony DUI, SC Code Section 56-5-2945 says the prosecutor must show that the defendant:

  1. Committed “any act forbidden by law or neglect[ed] any duty imposed by law,”
  2. While driving a motor vehicle,
  3. While under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and
  4. It resulted in great bodily injury or death to another person.

In short, the defendant must have caused the accident while driving under the influence, and another person suffered great bodily injury or death as a result.

Penalties for DUI in SC

The potential jail time for a DUI conviction in SC can range from 30 days for a DUI first offense with no breathalyzer result to up to 25 years in prison for a felony DUI resulting in death.

The consequences involve much more than just jail time, however – they could include:

  • Substantial fines,
  • Court costs,
  • Jail time – including mandatory minimum sentences,
  • Community service ,
  • License suspension,
  • License revocation as a habitual traffic offender (HTO),
  • Ignition interlock device (IID) requirements,
  • ADSAP requirements,
  • SR-22 requirements,
  • Job loss and difficulty finding employment, and
  • A drunk driving conviction that can never be expunged.

FAQ for Horry County DUI Lawyers

How Much Does a DUI Attorney Cost?

The attorney fees for defending DUI charges vary depending on:

  • The charges – a DUI first offense will cost significantly less than a felony DUI, for example,
  • The circumstances of the case – was it a single-car accident, a DUI checkpoint case, or a case with an alleged victim, for example,
  • The estimated time that will be spent on preparing the case for trial – every case must be independently investigated and prepared for trial,
  • The likelihood that the case will go to trial – some fact patterns are more likely to result in dismissal or reduction in charges, while others are more likely to end in a trial, and
  • Whether you need to retain experts for your defense – expert witnesses on DUI investigation techniques, the Datamaster machine, or standardized field sobriety tests are not part of the attorney fees and must be paid separately.

Can a DUI conviction be Expunged in SC?

A driving under the influence conviction – including DUAC or felony DUI convictions, cannot be expunged under SC law because it is considered a traffic offense as well as a criminal offense.

Should I Just Show Up at My Initial Court Date?

If you are charged in magistrate or municipal court, the initial court date on your ticket is really your “plea date.”

The officer, the prosecutor, and the judge will attempt to get you to plead guilty to your charges, and, if you don’t, the judge can give you a “bench trial” without a jury. We often call “bench trials” slow, painful guilty pleas, because the judge will most likely convict and sentence you.

Do not show up to your initial court date without your DUI lawyer. Talk to your DUI defense attorney before the initial court date – they might decide to request your jury trial before the initial court date, and then you may not need to appear in court until your case is scheduled for a roster meeting or pretrial conference.

Do I Have to Go to Trial in My DUI Case?

Most DUI cases do not go to trial.

Your attorney must investigate your case and prepare for trial, however, before they can effectively negotiate a dismissal or reduction in charges, and, if negotiations are unsuccessful, you must be willing to try your case to a jury.

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