A car accident in Sumter County, South Carolina has resulted in charges being filed against a woman, who state troopers report was driving under the influence.  The fatal accident occurred around 4:00 a.m., when the 25-year-old woman was traveling south on US 521, and veered off the right side of the road smashing into a tree.auto-accidents

Two of the passengers were rushed to Tuomey Hospital with injuries; a third passenger, due to the severity of her injuries, was pronounced dead at the scene.  She was not wearing her seatbelt. The driver faces multiple charges for driving under suspension, improper tags, operating a vehicle while uninsured, and felony DUI resulting in death.

In South Carolina, a felony driving under the influence charge can cause lasting damage for all parties and families involved, and can result in both civil suits as well as criminal charges.  In South Carolina, a person will be charged with a felony for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, if while operating the vehicle under the influence, the person causes great bodily injury or death to a person other than himself including a passenger, pedestrian, and/or another driver.

Great bodily injury is characterized by South Carolina courts as bodily injury, which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious or permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.  And, if the person dies from related complications within three years of the DUI-related injury, the driver may be implicated in the death.  Further, there are mandatory prison sentences and fines.

Penalties for great bodily injury are as follows: minimum of 30 days to a max of 15 years imprisonment, plus a mandatory fine of $5000, not to exceed $10,100, and a mandatory drivers’ license suspension.  The penalties increase if one is convicted for causing the death of another.  They are as follows: minimum sentence of at least 1 year in prison with a maximum 25 years imprisonment, and a minimum mandatory fine of not less than $10,100, nor more than $25,100.  Further, a license suspension will be enforced for DUI resulting in death as well.

Therefore, if you or a loved one has been charged with a felony DUI, it is unbelievably important for you to retain competent counsel as soon as possible.  For a consultation, call the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP at 803-548-4444, or toll-free at 877-374-5999.