York County DUI Attorneys
Why You Should Hire Our Firm
Local DUI Attorneys
We are DUI attorneys located right here in York County. We aggressively defend those who have been arrested for DUI, DUAC, or felony DUI in Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Tega Cay, Lake Wylie, and Indian Land. There are firms from other areas of South Carolina that advertise here but have to schedule appointments to meet with clients. We are a local DUI law firm and are right here when you need us. We focus our DUI practice in York County and work with the same prosecutors and judges in case after case.
DUI Attorneys Personally Available
After being arrested and released, our clients have lots of initial questions and real anxiety. You need answers now. We are going to explain the process and try to calm your fears. We appreciate that you are looking for information on what is going to happen. That’s why our DUI attorneys make themselves personally available. Every client has our mobile phone numbers and email addresses. When you call, you will get an actual DUI attorney. We want to be there when you need us.
Former DUI Prosecutor
Our DUI attorneys include a former York County DUI Court prosecutor. Zac Fry was a 16th Circuit Assistant Solicitor who now takes that experience to defend persons charged with DUI. From working with police and state troopers, he can look at DUI cases from both sides and use his previous experience to develop defense strategies. He is a strong asset, and we are proud to have him choose to come work with our firm.
Straight Answers to Questions
When you call us, we are going to give you straight answers about what you are facing and how the process works. We do not use scare tactics in an attempt to get you to sign a retainer. We also don’t make promises about your case. How can we? Only after we have seen all of the evidence can we ethically give you an honest assessment. If any DUI lawyer “guarantees” any outcome, you should keep searching for a DUI attorney.
Free Case Review and Consultation
Our pledge is to give our clients information so that they can make good decisions for themselves and their family. We never charge clients for consultations. Of course not. We are interviewing for a job. We know you will feel better after learning more about your options. Every case is different, but our comprehensive approach is always the same. We will review the State’s evidence against you, including all videos at the street and in the breath testing room (even if you refuse to “blow”). Then, we will develop an individual defense strategy for your particular case. After we have seen the State’s case against you in full, we will sit down with you and make recommendations. After we have answered your questions and you have time to think about it, you will then be in the best position to decide how you want to proceed.
After you have had a chance to review our website, the next step is to call York County DUI lawyer Robert J. Reeves directly on his cell phone at 803-554-4157, even after regular office hours and on weekends. Once we have some initial facts and information, Mr. Reeves can then provide you with some immediate guidance and schedule a personal meeting. If you decide to hire us, we pledge to fight hard and do our best to protect your interests. Don’t assume you are guilty just because you have been arrested. DUI defense is a process. You are just beginning that process now by searching for an experienced York County DUI lawyer.
Robert J. Reeves (firstname.lastname@example.org) 803-554-4157
Attorney Robert Reeves has been a practicing trial lawyer for over 27 years since 1989. He is licensed in both South Carolina and North Carolina and has represented civil and criminal clients and tried cases in State and Federal Courts. Mr. Reeves is a strong advocate and aggressive litigator defending those individuals charged with a DUI. He has completed the same training as police by attending courses sponsored by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Mr. Reeves has earned certificates including DWI Investigation, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, as well as the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) courses. Mr. Reeves has been sponsored for membership into the National College for DUI Defense and proudly supports the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He has also been recognized by his peers and has previously been inducted into the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 as well as South Carolina Super Lawyers.*
Zachary E. Fry (email@example.com) 803-250-9424
Zac is a member of the South Carolina Bar and began his legal career clerking for Judge Eugene C. Griffith, Jr., resident Circuit Judge for the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Newberry, South Carolina.Subsequently, Zac became an Assistant Solicitor at the Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office here in York County. He was assigned to the DUI Unit in Rock Hill. Zac has prosecuted over 400 DUI cases as a former prosecutor. His extensive court room experience includes trying multiple cases all the way to jury verdict. Zac’s training and experience with the State prepared him to convict individuals charged with DUI. He now uses this knowledge to strategically defend those arrested. Zac knows that just because you have been arrested does not mean you are guilty of DUI. South Carolina law provides for legal defenses which can be used to fight DUI cases on both legal and factual grounds. Zac works with Mr. Reeves and employs a DUI team approach to evaluating and then defending cases in court.
Choosing DUI Attorneys
There are many lawyers who practice here in York County. Out of all of those lawyers, there are only a few who practice criminal defense. And out of those attorneys, an even smaller number actually focus on DUI cases. So how do you choose one DUI lawyer over another. We suggest one way we believe you can use in choosing the best DUI lawyer for your case. Every case is different, and no DUI attorney can make an honest assessment until they have received and reviewed all of the State’s evidence. Beware of claims that a lawyer can “get your case dismissed” during a first meeting or phone call. There are steps an experienced DUI lawyer can take to fully evaluate a case and then file Motions to Dismiss but only after they have seen everything. In the end, you have to have confidence and trust in the lawyer you hire. It is also helpful if your attorney is able to put you at ease. Finally, actually being able to speak with your lawyer, even if it is after regular business hours, will go a long way in keeping your anxiety down.
With so many lawyers around, almost everyone “knows” a great attorney. Friends, family, even coworkers will often suggest someone, and this is a good place to start your search. However, don’t stop there. Instead, before you make your decision, we strongly encourage you to “do your own research” and compare for yourself different lawyers, their qualifications, and DUI experience. After you have narrowed the field down to one or two, schedule a time to actually meet with them. If they charge a consultation fee, move on. Once you get in front of them, ask the lawyers hard questions and get a feel for whether you will be able to work with this person. It is important to invest the time in the beginning. This first critical decision of who to hire can make a real difference in the outcome of your case. So be sure to make the best choice for you after evaluating several different DUI attorneys. While our primary office is based in Baxter Village / Fort Mill, we represent clients throughout York County, including Rock Hill, Tega Cay, Clover / Lake Wylie, and York. We go where you need us and will be there for you.
How We Fight DUI Cases
Our goal is always the same in every case. First, we make sure that the State of South Carolina can actually prove the allegations against you. We look for legal error(s) that may allow us to make motions to have portions of the evidence suppressed or, in some situations, even have your case dismissed. We do not begin with the premise that you are guilty just because you have been arrested and charged. If the State does have a prima facie case that will get them to a jury, then we evaluate how you will appear on video to a jury. In many cases, the State will offer a plea deal. After we have completed a full and comprehensive review of all evidence, we will sit down with you and review your options. We will answer your questions, give you the pros and cons of going to trial, and then review any plea offer made. At that point, you will be in the best position to make a good decision for you and your family. We guide you and make recommendations, but you will always be in charge and make all key decisions. After all, it is your case and your life. We will be there for you every step of the way.
Driving Under Influence (DUI) – Section 56-5-2930
It is against the law to drive any motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, in any combination, such that you are “materially and appreciably impaired.” We all know of the “legal limit” of 0.08%. But what you may not know is that a person does not even have to be “legally drunk” to be charged with a DUI. Of course, if you “blow” above the “legal limit,” you will be prosecuted. But even if your BAC level is below 0.08%, the State can still choose to prosecute if they can prove a person was still unsafe to operate a vehicle. The only exception to this scenario is if your BAC is 0.05% or below. At that level, there is a statutory section that protects you from being prosecuted as you are presumed to not be impaired under the law.
It should be noted that you can be charged with DUI while operating “any motorized vehicle” which can include cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, even lawnmowers. Yes, lawnmowers. If you are drinking a beer while cutting your grass and you go out into the roadway to turn around, you can be arrested for DUI. And finally, remember that “drunk driving” includes being impaired from alcohol (beer, wine, liquor, straight alcohol) and/or drugs (prescription, illegal, natural). Really, any intoxicating substance can cause you to be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or while impaired (DWI).There are plenty of cases which go to trial with a BAC level of 0.00%. However, to prove drug based impairment, the State will ideally have blood or urine test results but can go forward with a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) testimony about physiological tests including the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) and Vertical Gaze Nystagmus (VGN).
Driving Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) – Section 56-5-2933
South Carolina law provides that you are “legally drunk” if you have a “blood alcohol concentration (BAC)” of 0.08% or greater. This finding is sometimes referred to as a “per se DUI.” This level can be determined by a breathalyzer test, or if you cannot complete that test, by blood or urine tests. Again, your consent is “implied” if you drive in SC, even if you are from somewhere else. Simply getting behind the wheel is enough. This charge is often misunderstood as being a “lesser charge.” It is not. The law was actually written and passed to make it easier for the State to convict someone. “Bad driving” is not an element of this charge like in a DUI case. The penalty is now exactly the same as with a DUI. Previously, a potential benefit was the scenario of having your original DUI charge dismissed and then rewriting a new ticket as a DUAC. The DUAC conviction was recorded on your driving record and did not result in a permanent criminal record. However, this “loophole” has since been eliminated, and there is no practical difference between a DUI and a DUAC. The only advantage, and it is a small one, is that it may seem better to say you accepted a plea offer on the advice of your lawyer than to be convicted at trial by a jury of your peers.
Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI
For a first offense DUI, your license will be revoked for 6 months, subject to getting a provisional license. In addition, you are subject to a $400.00 fine, up to 48 hours in jail or community service (BAC <.10%); $500.00 fine, up to 72 hours (BAC <.16%); or $1000.00 fine, up to 30 days (BAC >.16%). And, you will be required to obtain SR-22 insurance for 3 years, even if you do not own a vehicle. To qualify for a provisional license, you will also have to enroll in Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP) and pay a $100.00 license reinstatement fee. Subsequent DUI convictions result in even more serious penalties and fees. If your BAC is 0.15 or greater or you refuse breath testing, you will also be required to have an “ignition interlock” device installed in your vehicle. During your suspension, you can only drive vehicles with a device installed (think driving a friend’s car or renting while away on business).
Felony DUI – Section 56-5-2945
Felony DUI cases are the ones where a person is facing potential time in prison if convicted. Most DUI arrests are misdemeanor charges. In an instant, a DUI can become a felony if there is an accident involving “great bodily injury” or death. Felony DUI can result from a multi-car accident with injury or a single vehicle accident occurs with passengers being hurt. Most people do not drive if they believe they are unsafe or impaired. They have many options available to them, including taking a cab or Uber or having a family member or friend come get them. However, even if you are at a low BAC level, you are risking a felony DUI if you are involved in an accident that is caused by your intoxication. There are even circumstances where you may be rear-ended by another driver, but you can still be arrested and prosecuted if you were driving at an unsafe slow speed or pull out in front of another vehicle. The critical term “great bodily injury” is defined as bodily injury that creates a “substantial risk of death” or that causes “serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment” of any bodily member or organ. The primary defenses to a felony DUI include: (1) whether a person was legally impaired; (2) whether the alleged impairment proximately caused the resulting accident; and/or (3) whether the damages constitute “great bodily injury” or resulted in causally related death.
As you might expect, the penalties for a felony DUI increase dramatically. If convicted in a serious injury case, there is a mandatory fine of between $5,100.00 and $10,100.00 as well as a mandatory imprisonment term of between thirty (30) days to fifteen (15) years. If death results, the mandatory fine increases to between $10,100.00 and $25,100.00 as well as a mandatory imprisonment term of between one (1) year to twenty-five (25) years. And just be clear, the mandatory active sentences are served in prison through the South Carolina Department of Corrections, not jail in the local county.
Implied Consent to Testing – Section 56-5-2946
If you drive in South Carolina, the law says you have already given your consent to chemical tests of your breath (blood or urine under certain circumstances) to determine the presence of alcohol and/or drugs if arrested for DUI. If you refuse, your license is automatically suspended for 6 months subject to DMV challenge. Once charged, you have 30 days to request a DMV hearing to contest your license suspension. If you request this hearing timely, you can apply for driving privileges through a Temporary Alcohol License (TAL) while waiting for a hearing date. If not, your suspension will last for the full six months.
*For those individuals who prefer to see the DUI laws and statutes for themselves, you can click here. After you have had an opportunity to review the actual laws, we believe you will further appreciate the need to retain experienced DUI attorneys who focus their practice on this complex area of criminal defense. It is critical that you contact and interview several DUI lawyers so that you make the best decision for yourself and your family. We would be honored to be considered in your search.
Breath Testing “Science”
One of the prosecution’s key pieces of evidence in a DUI case, other than the arresting officer’s description of impairment and video evidence at the street and in the breath test room, is the breathalyzer results of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If you choose not to submit to testing, your refusal will be used as evidence of guilt at trial and will also serve as a basis for the implied consent offense described above. People always ask whether they should “blow” or not. As a criminal defense DUI attorney, we never like to give the State more evidence against our clients. However, it is a difficult call given the immediate revocation of driving privileges if you refuse. We advise clients the answer depends on how much they have really had to drink, what type of alcohol is involved, over what period of time, and whether they were also eating while drinking. Luckily for those charged with DUI, the breathalyzer is not fool-proof science as it is portrayed by the prosecution, police, and anti-alcohol groups. There are many challenges available to “breath testing” and we explore all available defenses once we receive the State’s case against you.
Difference Between Civil and Criminal Cases
In civil cases, Mr. Reeves has to assemble all relevant evidence and experts, has to prepare witnesses, and must establish his client’s burden of proof to persuade all six (6) or twelve (12) jurors. That’s how you win cases in civil court. In criminal cases, the State of South Carolina has the entire burden of proving a client guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” As a DUI defense attorney, the roles are reversed. The prosecutor and police have to gather all evidence, secure witnesses and experts, and have to convince a jury to convict you unanimously. Our job is to carefully and thoroughly review the State’s evidence, find legal or police errors, and either win an acquittal or convince just a single juror of reasonable doubt. If a jury cannot decide by unanimous vote, then the judge will declare a mistrial, requiring the State to either retry your case or negotiate a plea offer.
*Membership in professional legal organizations is not intended to convey or imply any particular specialization or expertise. Each case is different, and final outcome depends on individual facts and circumstances. Only after a thorough review of all evidence can a lawyer give you competent recommendations as to how to proceed based on the strengths and weaknesses of your case.