Why You Should Hire Our Firm
Free Case Review and Consultation
Arrested for DUI or DUAC in York County? Then you need an experienced, local DUI attorney. Based here in York County, our DUI firm aggressively defends those arrested for DUI, DUAC, or felony DUI. Our DUI lawyers handle cases in Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Tega Cay, Lake Wylie, and Indian Land. We never charge for consultations. Of course not. After all, we are interviewing for a job. We are honored to be considered in your search for a DUI attorney. And we know you are going to feel better after learning your options.
While every case is different, our approach is always the same. If hired, we fully investigate the State’s evidence against you. Most importantly, our DUI lawyers carefully analyze all video recordings. In South Carolina, the law requires video at the street during the arrest process and in the breath testing room. Then, we develop an individual defense strategy for your particular case. After we have evaluated your case in full, we sit down with you and go over every part of your case. Next, we answer your questions and make recommendations. Our pledge is to give you full information to make the best decision for you and your family.
DUI Attorney Robert J. Reeves
DUI attorney Robert Reeves is a practicing trial lawyer with over 27 years litigation experience. He is licensed in both South Carolina and North Carolina. As a trial attorney, Mr. Reeves has tried civil and criminal clients in state and federal courts. Seeking to bolster his DUI credentials, he completed the same training as police sponsored through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). He earned course certificates for DWI Investigation, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, as well as the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE). Mr. Reeves is a member of the National College for DUI Defense and South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. And he is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100.* You can reach Mr. Reeves by calling his mobile phone or emailing him directly as well.
Former DUI Prosecutor
Zac Fry (email@example.com) 803-250-9424
Zac Fry is a former York County DUI Court prosecutor. After working with police, he evaluates DUI cases from both sides and uses his previous experience to develop comprehensive defense strategies. He began his career as a law clerk for Eighth Judicial Circuit Judge Eugene C. Griffith, Jr. After his clerkship, Zac became an Assistant Solicitor at the Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office here in York County. While there, he was assigned to the DUI Unit in Rock Hill and prosecuted over 400 DUI cases. Given his background, Zac has extensive court room experience and works with Mr. Reeves as part of our DUI team approach. Zac is a strong asset, and we are proud to have him work with our firm. You can reach Zac directly by calling or emailing him even after regular business hours.
Penalties for First Offense DUI
If convicted or plead guilty, a DUI or DUAC charge becomes a permanent criminal record. Under current law, there is no provision for expungement. Ever. In addition, your license (or driving privilege) is revoked for 6 months. And you have to obtain SR-22 insurance for 3 years even if you do not own a vehicle. You may be eligible for a provisional license. To qualify for a restricted license, you must enroll in Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP) and pay a $100.00 license reinstatement fee. Then there are court costs, fines, community service, and even jail. Depending on your BAC reading, court costs and fines are between $997 and $1229. Jail time or community service is also possible up to 30 days.
If your BAC is 0.15 or greater, or you refuse breath testing, an “ignition interlock” device will be required in your vehicle. While suspended, you can only drive vehicles with this device installed (think driving a friend’s car or renting while away on business). Try not to worry. These penalties are the “worst case scenario.” First, the State has to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
How We Fight DUI Cases
First, we make sure that the State of South Carolina can actually prove the charge against you. We look for legal error that may allow us to file motions. In certain situations, the Court can suppress certain evidence. In others, your case may be dismissed. Regardless, we never start with the premise that you are guilty just because you have been arrested. If there is no legal error, we then evaluate how you appear on video from a jury’s perspective. In many cases, the State will offer a plea deal.
After we finish a comprehensive review of all evidence, we sit down with you and go over our findings. Next, we answer your questions and give you the pros and cons of going to trial. Finally, we present any plea offers made. Now that you know all of your options, you can decide how best to proceed. That final decision is always yours. We guide you and make recommendations, but you are always be in charge. After all, it is your case and your life. But we will be beside you every step of the way.
Straight Answers to Your Questions
When you have questions, we promise straight answers. In some cases, you may not like the answers. But most folks just want the truth about what they are facing and how the process works. We are respectful but candid. If your case does not look good, we will tell you and then negotiate a plea offer. If you do have more than one option, we will explain them and give our recommendations. Either way, you make all major decisions after our counsel. Together, we will get through this ordeal. And you will come out stronger when it is over. We are here for you and will stand by you.
Choosing a DUI Attorney
While there are many lawyers in York County, only a few practice criminal defense. And out of those attorneys, even fewer focus on DUI cases. So how do you choose one DUI attorney over another. Here, we suggest a way we believe you can choose the “best DUI lawyer” for your case. Only you can decide who is “best.” Because every case is unique, a DUI attorney cannot honestly give an assessment until they have evaluated all of the evidence. Beware of lawyers who claim they will “get your case dismissed” during a first meeting or phone call. That is unethical behavior and should be reported to the South Carolina Bar. Instead, we encourage you to compare actual DUI experience and credentials. Ask the hard questions. What percentage of their practice is DUI defense? When was the last time they tried a DUI case in court?
In the end, you have to decide who is the best DUI attorney for you and your family. You will know. Look for the lawyer who gives you the most confidence but also puts you at ease. And make sure they will take your calls after you hire them. The number one complaint by clients is that there lawyer will not return their phone calls or messages. At our firm, we honor your trust and return all calls the same day. Towards that promise, every client has our DUI attorney personal cell phone number and email address. We will be there when you need us.
Recommendations From Friends or Family
With so many lawyers around, almost everyone “knows” a great DUI attorney. Friends, family, even coworkers will often suggest someone. And this may be a good place to start your search. However, don’t stop there. Instead, before making your decision, we strongly encourage you to “do your own research.” At a minimum, you need to compare different lawyers for yourself. Look at their qualifications and actual DUI experience. After you narrow the field down to one or two, schedule a time to actually meet with them. If they charge an initial consultation fee, keep searching.
Once you get in front of them, ask the hard questions and get a feel for their personality. Will you be able to work with this person? Invest your time in the beginning. In the end, this first critical decision of who to hire can make a real difference in the outcome of your case. So be sure you make the best choice after evaluating several different DUI attorney firms. From our primary office in Baxter Village / Fort Mill, our lawyers represent clients throughout York County, including Rock Hill, Tega Cay, Clover / Lake Wylie, and York. We go where you need us. And we will be there for you.
Driving Under Influence (DUI) – Section 56-5-2930
As everyone knows, it is illegal to drive “drunk” or “impaired.” However, DUI laws apply to any motorized vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, in any combination. You can drink and then drive but cannot be “materially and appreciably impaired.” At present, the “legal limit” is 0.08. However, you don’t have to be “legally drunk” to be charged with DUI. Even if your BAC reading is below 0.08, the State can still prosecute if they can prove you are unsafe to operate a vehicle. If your BAC is 0.05 or below, you are statutorily presumed to not be impaired. But watch out for drug based impairment issues here.
Make note, the legal term “any motorized vehicle” includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, and golf carts. Yes, even golf carts. If you drink and then drive around the neighborhood, you can be arrested for DUI. Also remember that “drunk driving” or “impairment” can result from alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) and/or drugs (prescription, illegal, natural). Even if you follow your doctor’s prescription, you can be arrested for DUI if you appear impaired. However, to prove drug based impairment, the State will need blood / urine test results or a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to testify at trial.
Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) – Section 56-5-2933
Here, the State has to prove a “blood alcohol concentration (BAC)” of 0.08% or greater. While many lawyers think this is a lesser charge, DUAC is the same now as DUI. And there is no benefit to pleading to a DUAC. When the law changed, the penalty for DUAC is the same now. In fact, this law was actually passed to make it easier for the State to convict. In that regard, “bad driving” is not required like in a DUI case.
Previously, an officer would dismiss the original DUI charge and then rewrite a new ticket for DUAC. Then, the DUAC conviction would show on your driving record but did not result in a permanent criminal record. However, this “loophole” has since been eliminated. And now, there is no difference between a DUI and a DUAC. In reality, the only advantage might be to say you accepted a plea offer on the advice of your lawyer rather than being convicted at trial. Only in really bad cases would we suggest this option.
Felony DUI – Section 56-5-2945
While most DUI arrests are misdemeanors, a DUI becomes a felony if there is an accident involving “great bodily injury” or death. And either a multi-car or a single vehicle accident with injured passengers can result in a felony DUI. Here, the only difference is serious injury or death. If charged with a felony DUI, you are facing potential time in prison.
“Great bodily injury” creates a “substantial risk of death” or causes “serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment” to any body member or organ. There are defenses to felony DUI. First, you challenge the impairment like in any other DUI case. Or, you argue there is no connection between the accident and any alleged impairment. And finally, you dispute whether “great bodily injury” or causally related death resulted. As you might expect, these cases are difficult to win in front of a jury. Better to win by Motion, if possible, than risk a jury.
Felony DUI penalties increase dramatically. If convicted in a serious injury case, the mandatory fine is between $5,100.00 and $10,100.00 and imprisonment between thirty (30) days to fifteen (15) years. If death results, the mandatory fine increases to $10,100.00 to $25,100.00 and imprisonment of one (1) year to twenty-five (25) years. And to be clear, this is time in prison in the South Carolina Department of Corrections, not the local county jail.
Implied Consent to Testing – Section 56-5-2946
By driving in South Carolina, your consent to chemical tests is mandated by law if arrested for DUI. If you refuse, your driver’s license (or driving privilege) is automatically suspended for 6 months. If your BAC reading is 0.15 or greater, your license is also suspended. Once charged, you have 30 days to request a DMV hearing and challenge this suspension. And you can also request a Temporary Alcohol License (TAL) while waiting for your DMV hearing date. If you do not file a timely challenge, your 6 month suspension begins. This is the civil license suspension for DUI. If convicted of DUI or DUAC, there will be a second DMV suspension resulting from the criminal case. Don’t worry. We will help guide you through this process as well.
*For individuals who want to read the DUI statutes for themselves, please click here.
Breath Testing “Science”
In most DUI cases, the State’s chief evidence is the breathalyzer results. Of course, prosecutors also use the arresting officer’s description of impairment and video evidence. But they still tend to focus on your reported BAC. If you refuse breath testing, that refusal will be used against you as evidence of guilt at trial. People frequently ask whether they should “blow” or not. As a criminal defense DUI attorney, we do not recommend giving the State any additional evidence. However, the license revocation makes it a difficult decision.
The answer really depends on how much you have had to drink and when. Other factors include type of alcohol consumed, time period, and whether you ate before drinking. Fortunately, breathalyzer “science” is not science at all. Instead, it is just a machine that produces a number. Given what we don’t know, there are many challenges available to “breath testing.” Once we get the evidence, our DUI attorneys look at all defenses.
Difference Between Civil and Criminal Cases
In civil cases, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. They have to persuade the jury to win. In criminal cases, the State of South Carolina has to prove you guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” At trial, the prosecutor and police present all evidence and witnesses. Throughout the process, the burden of proof remains at all times on the government. By comparison, we have to prove nothing. Certainly, we will challenge evidence and witnesses. To win, we only have to show “reasonable doubt” as to any part of the State’s case. Every juror votes unanimously to convict or acquit. But just one juror voting “not guilty” “hangs” the jury. and a mistrial results. Then, the State either retries the case or negotiates a plea bargain. We stand ready to try your case how ever many times is necessary. We don’t quit.
The Next Step
After reviewing our website, the next step is to call our firm and schedule a personal meeting. Once we have more information, we can answer your questions and give some initial guidance. Later, after we have all the evidence, we can discuss options and make recommendations.
If you decide to hire us, we pledge to fight hard and do our best for you. We know you are counting on us. Don’t assume you are guilty just because you have been charged. An arrest does not necessarily mean conviction. DUI defense is a process. Searching for an experienced York County DUI attorney begins that process. We appreciate the anxiety you are feeling. We will do everything we can for you. Let us take some of the worry away. Thank you for considering our firm. Call us now.
*Membership in professional legal organizations does not convey or imply any particular specialization or expertise. Every case is different, and individual facts and circumstances will determine any final outcome. Only after a thorough review of all evidence can a lawyer give you competent advice on how to proceed based on the strengths and weaknesses of your case.