Myrtle Beach, located in Horry County, South Carolina, is a popular tourist destination known for its beaches, entertainment venues, and vibrant nightlife. With a significant influx of visitors and a thriving social scene, there is a potential for alcohol-related incidents, including DUIs.
Moreover, the recorded numbers were up 11% in 2022, with 24,864 arrests between January and December. In total, 72 people died in DUI/DWI accidents, while 2,389 were injured. If you’re a victim of such an incident, seeking legal aid can help you determine the best way forward for your case. You must consult a competent lawyer to guide you after a drunk driving accident in Myrtle Beach. The following section dives into some reasons why it is essential to hire a lawyer.
- The attorney can find and exploit cracks in the case
Most DUI/DWI cases are founded on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) tests. But not all BAC tests are accurate. Moreover, the police can arrest you even if you pass the BAC test. An experienced DUI attorney can easily uncover such loopholes to win your case.
For instance, your lawyer can contest criminal charges if your BAC results are under the legal limit. Similarly, your attorney can contest the charges if the analyzers are faulty. Also, did the authorities conduct the tests within the law? If not, you have no case to worry about.
- Your lawyer can help you evaluate plea deals
A plea bargain is an agreement between the accused and the prosecution where the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a more lenient sentence.
It’s very popular because it shortens the case and promises a lighter punishment. Indeed, 90-95% of criminal charges are solved through plea deals, according to the Department of Justice records. However, you give up the chance of proving your innocence and get a criminal record.
For these reasons, deciding whether it’s a good deal is complicated. An experienced personal injury lawyer will evaluate the case to determine whether or not you should take the plea bargain.
- A DUI attorney can help you avoid a jail term
A first DUI offense in South Carolina can result in a fine ranging from $400 to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to 30 days. The court may also require completing an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP), community service, or probation.
A second DUI offense carries increased penalties, including a fine ranging from $2,100 to $6,500 and imprisonment for a minimum of 48 hours up to three years. The court may also order completion of ADSAP, community service, probation, or enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program.
Penalties for third and subsequent DUI offenses become more severe, including higher fines, longer imprisonment periods, and potential mandatory substance abuse treatment program enrollment.
- License Suspension:
- A first offense can result in a six-month license suspension.
- The second offense may lead to a one-year license suspension.
- Third and subsequent offenses can result in a multi-year license suspension, with longer periods for each subsequent offense.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
In some cases, individuals convicted of DUI may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicle. This device measures BAC and prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.
- An experienced lawyer can get you a shorter sentence
Unfortunately, subsequent offenses carry long jail terms. For instance, the second DUI offense in seven years is a class B misdemeanor that may attract ten days imprisonment, a fine, and other penalties. Meanwhile, the third offense in seven years is punishable by 120 days in jail.
Spending such a long time in jail can significantly impact your life and the livelihoods of your loved ones. Moreover, you may lose your job.
To this end, an experienced DWI attorney can negotiate for a shorter sentence by poking holes in the evidence while promising behavior change.
- The lawyer can represent you in a full trial
Although most people dread a full trial, it’s sometimes a lifeline. A reputable DUI lawyer will help you make the right decision and even represent you in court. And who knows? You may walk out with a clean record.
The best part is that an experienced attorney knows DUI lawsuits inside out. They know how to evaluate the jury and interrogate the evidence to give you a fighting chance.
Also, DUI attorneys can assess the DA’s record to present a stronger case. Unfortunately, you cannot do the same without legal education and courtroom experience.
You should strongly consider hiring an experienced attorney for your DUI case. The extra cost can be off-putting. But the potential reward is priceless. The attorney will help you make important decisions, including evaluating plea deals. They can also negotiate more lenient penalties or keep you out of jail.