DUI Free Consultation | Criminal Defense Attorneys

While many criminal lawyers charge, we offer a free consultation. Why? Because we are interviewing for a job. Consequently, we meet with clients at no charge in DUI and DWI cases.

Free Consultation for DUI and DWI

Because DUI defense is serious business, we first have to convince you to hire our firm. So how do we do that? First of all, we go over our professional credentials and DUI experience. Before you can trust our advice, you must first have confidence in what we tell you. Hence we want you to know that we focus our criminal practice on DUI and DWI defense. In addition, we work hard to stay current on effective trial strategies. Of course, every case is different, and DUI defense is very complex. However, this is what we do, and we do it every day.

After we tell you about us, we turn our focus to you and what happened. Because every fact is important, we listen very carefully and make detailed notes. While we see certain patterns in every case, little things can sometimes make a big difference in outcome. As a result, we look for particular facts that favor your case. In addition, we also look for things that are bad and then find a good reason to explain. However, juries don’t seem to focus on every detail. Rather, they decide guilt based on common sense and experience. And we all know what “drunk” or “impaired” looks like and sounds like.

Video Evidence Explained

During our free consultation, we talk about lots of things. But the most important part of DUI is what video evidence is available. While South Carolina requires video evidence, North Carolina does not. However, in either State, juries look hard at how you appear and how you sound. As a result, we focus on every detail but really concentrate on things you do on video. For example, how do you walk normally? Furthermore, how do you sound and stand while on video? While the State prefers to talk about their roadside tests, we talk about your normal behavior. In the end, juries decide on what they see and hear for themselves.

Because we practice DUI defense most every day, it is second nature to our attorneys. However, it is a lot of information to hear, especially for the first time. Try not to worry. After all, that is why you would hire us. Regardless, you are going to know much more about how we do our job by the end of our meeting. Then you will be in a good place to decide who is the best DUI attorney for your case. Call us now and let’s start your defense.

Felony DUI Child Death Case | Emma’s Law

Felony DUI Charge in Wrongful Death of Child

A Lexington, South Carolina man, who was accused of killing a 6-year-old girl in a drunken crash, has pleaded guilty to a felony DUI.  He has been sentenced to spend the next 10 years in prison and pay a $15,000 fine.  It is reported that the man was traveling just under 60 miles per hour when he ran through a red light, smashing into a minivan carrying six members of the little girls’ family. The speed limit in the zone was 35 mph, and there were no skid marks leading to the minivan. The man’s blood alcohol level was nearly 0.21 percent, which is almost three times the legal limit. The man’s mother apologized to the girl’s family through sobs in the courtroom.  Following this statement, the mother of the little girl fell to her knees in front of the people in the courtroom reliving the evening. The crash also critically injured two other family members in the van. Based on this horrific case of a family being traumatized by a drunk driver, South Carolina is poised to pass a new, stricter law for first time DUI offenders called “Emma’s law.”

Since the incident, the legislature in South Carolina has attempted to enact Emma’s law which targets first time convicted DUI offenders, and requires them to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.  With the ignition interlock system, if the person blows a .02 or higher, the car will not start and hopefully keep that driver off the road and keep the public safer. The defendant at issue here, who was convicted, has agreed to appear before the state legislature to push for Emma’s Law.  This law was recently been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary in 2013. Emma’s law is one of the harshest DUI laws that has been proposed in quite some time in the state of South Carolina. This new law, if passed, would require that even first time DUI offenders to have to blow into a special device called an “ignition interlock system” to start their vehicle.  This system is currently a device that is used for only repeat offenders of driving under the influence.

Update:

Since this blog was originally posted, the so-called Emma’s law was passed unanimously and will go into effect October 1, 2014, Now, if convicted of a DUI in which the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.15 or greater, that driver will be required to install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles that they have access. This hope is this new law will discourage new DUI arrests and/or dissuade convicted DUI drivers from driving while impaired again. Time will tell. Seemingly, the only real deterrent to DUI arrests is more enforcement through checkpoints and public awareness campaigns to phone in suspected drunk drivers on the road.

Be Safe. Get Home.

 

Can You be Charged with “Drugged Driving” in South Carolina?

The answer to this question is a resounding YES.  In South Carolina, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she drives a motor vehicle within the State under the influence of “any drug, combination of drugs, or combination of drugs and alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive were ‘materially and appreciably’ impaired.” S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2930(A) (West 2009)

In South Carolina, the implied consent laws apply.  Therefore, a person who drives a motor vehicle in the State is considered to have given consent to chemical tests of his breath, blood, or urine for the purpose of determining  the presence of alcohol or drugs or the combination of alcohol and drugs if arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was driving the motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2950(A) (West 2009)

  • Further, the DMV in South Carolina MUST suspend the driver’s license, permit, or nonresident operating privilege of or deny the issuance of a license or permit to a person who drives a motor vehicle and refuses to submit to a blood test.  S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2951(A) (West 2009)
  • The accused has the right to have a qualified person of his own choosing conduct additional independent tests at his expense. The failure or inability of the person tested to obtain additional tests does not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the tests or samples obtained at the direction of the law enforcement officer. Id. §§ 56-5-2950(B)(3),(D).

Penalties

  • First offense – fine of $400 or imprisonment for a period of not less than 48 hours, nor more than 30 days; Or minimum of 48 hours of public service; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.  § 56-5-2930(A)(1).
  • Second offense – fine of not less than $2,100, but not more than $5,100 and imprisonment for a period of not less than 5 days, but not more than 1 year; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.  § 56-5-2930(A)(2).
  • Third offense fine of not less than $3,800, nor more than $6,300, imprisonment for a period not less than 60 days nor more than 3 years; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.  § 56-5-2930(A)(3).
  • Fourth and subsequent offense – imprisonment for not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.  § 56-5-2930(A)(4).

So, if you or a loved one has been arrested, and your arrest falls under the purview of any of these laws and penalties, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for a confidential consultation.

How Home Insurance Helps During a Bodily Injury Lawsuit

If you were injured on someone else’s property and trying to decide whether to file a lawsuit, it is a good idea to know how the responsible party’s insurance policy can pay out for your injuries.Personal Injury Attorneys

A standard homeowner’s policy typically includes two types of liability coverage.

If you don’t file a lawsuit, the responsible party might file a MedPay claim with their home insurance carrier which provides limited repayment for injuries when a lawsuit is not presented. Most policies, however, place a maximum limit of $1,000 for this type of coverage. With medical costs rising this is often not enough to cover hospital and doctor’s bills, ambulance rides and other expenses related to your injury.

If you decide to file a lawsuit for your injuries, the responsible party’s home insurance policy might still come in handy. The other type of liability coverage included in a home insurance policy is called personal liability protection.

Personal liability protection will allow a policyholder to file a claim and receive financial assistance if he or she is being sued. The follow scenarios are examples of accidents that could qualify a homeowner for a claim: (1) Their dog bites you while you are walking past their home; (2) your child falls off a neighbor’s trampoline and fractures his ankle. (3) you are involved in an accident where another driver is at fault and their auto liability coverage is not enough to pay for your injuries

There are many reasons a person might choose to sue after such a mishap. Medical bills are costly, plus there are other associated expenses. The hurt party might miss weeks of work, or the injury could have negative long-term effects on the person’s health. These costs add up, and that is why many individuals seek legal action.

Standard home insurance policies typically include a minimum of $100,000 for a liability claim. Again, however, coverage can be increased to as much as $500,000. Criminal activity and other exclusions apply. The following circumstances probably won’t be eligible for home insurance coverage: (1) Transmission of a communicable disease. (2) Mental, physical or sexual abuse, (3) The selling, manufacturing or distribution of controlled substances.

So you know now how easily accidents can happen since you were the victim of one. So how can you protect yourself from the financial burden of a lawsuit? Of course, it’s always best to prepare for the worst-case scenario ahead of time. Consumers who feel that they’re at particular risk for a lawsuit can purchase umbrella coverage – which comes in increments of $1 million up to $5 million. These people might own a pool or live in a neighborhood with a lot of unsupervised children and worry that someone might get hurt on their property. Umbrella coverage kicks in once the limits of your personal liability have been met. It also applies to your automobile insurance once those liability limits have been met.

Whether you’re the plaintiff or the defendant, it’s good to know about financial options when facing a lawsuit. When in doubt about your insurance coverage, get in touch with a licensed agent. A professional can answer any question you may have and get you the coverage you need. You can discuss premiums, deductibles and other important aspects of a policy as well.

If you have been in a similar situation to the aforementioned, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for more information.

What is Considered to be a “Personal Injury.”

According to various sources, including statutes and case law, a personal injury is simply a legal term that is used for any injury to a person’s body or mind (including emotions.) SC Personal Injury Attorney

Injury to property however is considered to be something entirely different and is a different type of “damage” that is typically covered by the defendant’s insurance company.

Typically, the legal term refers to an action of negligence by one person, called the defendant, against another person, referred to as the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffers an injury at the accidental fault of the defendant through the defendant’s negligent act, and then sues the defendant to recover damages for their losses.

What most people think of when they hear the phrase “personal injury,” is that someone has been involved in a major car accident where the plaintiff was seriously injured. They would be entirely correct to make this assumption.

Roadway accidents, accidents at work, “slip and fall” accidents, and holiday accidents are statistically proven to be the most common types of “personal injuries.”

However, the term “personal injury,” expands to encompass much more than simply the “run-of-the-mill” car accident. A personal injury can include anything from a car accident or motorcycle accident all the way to intentional infliction of emotional distress (referred to as IIED) and negligent infliction of emotional distress (or NIED.)

These two claims often arise when the plaintiff has suffered mental injuries, and these injuries are proven by medical attention reporting such injuries. These injuries could include anything from PTSD to depression due to the accident.

If you have suffered any sort of serious personal injury, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys directly at 803-548-5444 or toll-free at 877-374-5999 today.

What Do I Do if I am Stopped at a SC Checkpoint?

Blog-DWI CheckpointAlong with the cold weather and the New Year, you can count on there being an increased number of roadblocks in sporadically placed through South Carolina.

Law Enforcement officers target DUI offenders with roadblocks during the end of each month to reach their specified “quota” assigned to them. However, there are several ways to avoid being stopped at a DUI Sobriety checkpoint or roadblock. A few of the more sensible tips are included below.

1. Avoid Obvious Sobriety Checkpoint Locations

DUI Enforcement Police Officers are most likely going to set up their checkpoints where they think they can catch the most offenders. You should realize that federal law does not allow roadblocks on interstate highways so getting to the interstate to avoid a roadblock is common strategy used to avoid being stopped. Keep in mind that police are permitted to set up their checkpoints along main highways or roads that lead to interstate highways so this tactic is not fool proof.

2. If possible, avoid late night locations where there are a lot of bars and restaurants.

These areas generate a lot of police patrol due to the high volume of people and the large amount of people in the area consuming alcohol. It makes sense that police officers want to set up in areas near bars and restaurants that stay open later than all the other establishments because it is a target rich environment.

3. Be aware that police officers sometimes will have “chase” cars stationed at each roadblock location to stop any drivers who turn around from a checkpoint.

These cars will usually be placed in strategic locations so officers can target drivers who blatantly try to turn around or erratically avoid the checkpoint. Unfortunately, police officers often times assume that any driver who turns before a checkpoint is automatically trying to avoid the checkpoint because they’ve been drinking.

4. And, of course, the very best way to avoid being arrested at a DUI sobriety checkpoint is simple: Don’t drink and drive.

This tactic seems obvious but it is honestly the only guaranteed method to avoid any repercussions from a DUI Checkpoint. At the end of the day, it is a much smarter decision to take a taxi or get a ride from a designated driver.

If you have been arrested for a DUI because of a DUI Checkpoint or DUI Roadblock it is critical that you hire an attorney with experience fighting these types of cases. The consequences of a DUI conviction are greater than they ever have been before. So make sure you have an attorney who is aggressive in representing you.

If you have been charged with a DUI or have been arrested at a DUI checkpoint, contact the attorneys at Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP.  Contact us toll-free at 877-374-5999 or contact us at this link for a private consultation.