One of the most tragic consequences of driving under the influence (DUI) is that you could be responsible for causing the death of someone else. In South Carolina, if you were driving under the influence of alcohol and cause a fatal accident, you will be charged with felony DUI. Upon conviction, you can face up to 25 years in jail and a fine that is anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000. You will have a criminal record, your driver’s license will be suspended for five years once you have completed your jail sentence, and could face many other consequences in your professional and personal life.
Proving Felony DUI
When you are arrested and charged with felony DUI, you can only be convicted if the prosecution can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that your offense meets the criteria for a felony DUI. This criteria includes proving that:
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both, at the time of the offense
- While you were driving, you committed an illegal act under the state’s motor vehicle laws
- Your offense lead to great bodily harm of another, or caused the death of another
The victim could have been another driver, a passenger in another vehicle, a driver of a moped, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian.
Fighting Felony DUI Charges
A felony DUI conviction has the potential to turn your life completely upside down. You will likely feel the effects of your DUI conviction well after you have been sentenced. It is important to fight felony DUI charges aggressively, with the goal of having the charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.
There are many defense strategies that could be used to fight felony DUI charges. Some of the more common DUI defense techniques include:
- Contesting whether your DUI arrest was legal in the first place
- Challenging the admission of certain evidence against you, such as a breathalyzer test result or the test from a blood sample
- Challenging the validity of field sobriety tests that were administered, and challenging whether those tests were administered according to appropriate protocol
- Fighting against whether your state of intoxication contributed sufficiently to the victim’s death to justify a felony DUI conviction
In some situations, however, it makes more sense to accept some sort of plea agreement from the prosecution that includes a lesser charge in exchange for an admission of guilt in a DUI case where someone was killed. An experienced DUI criminal defense attorney in Charleston, SC can help you determine whether you should accept a plea agreement or if you should fight the charges that are being pressed against you.
Get Help From a Charleston, SC DUI Defense Attorney
Felony DUI charges are very serious. When someone has been killed as a result of your actions, it is important to have experienced legal representation by your side. The DUI criminal defense lawyers at McCoy & Stokes can help you. Our team has many years of experience handling DUI cases.
Contact us today for an initial consultation.