A 19-year-old man from York, South Carolina, has been charged with one count of Felony DUI resulting in death, two counts of felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury and driving joe-alcohol in jail cellunder a suspended license.  This is the second DUI for the man this year.

Police report that the man swerved from the right side of the road, struck a tree causing the car to flip over ejecting all four of the passengers.  One of the passengers, an 18 year old Clover girl, was killed.  The other passengers were taken to the hospital; however, they were not seriously injured.

This is a real situation that can demonstrate the charges a driver can face if they drive while under the influence.   If people are injured or killed as a result of a DUI, the driver will be held accountable for such actions through the court system and face serious criminal charges. Felony DUI resulting in Death carries a possibility of up to 25 years in prison.  The following illustrates the South Carolina Code of Laws with regard to Felony DUI:

56-5-2945. Offense of felony driving under the influence; penalties; “great bodily injury” defined.

(A) A person who, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combination of alcohol and drugs, drives a motor vehicle and when driving a motor vehicle does any act forbidden by law or neglects any duty imposed by law in the driving of the motor vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes great bodily injury or death to a person other than himself, is guilty of the offense of felony driving under the influence and, upon conviction, must be punished:

(1) by a mandatory fine of not less than five thousand one hundred dollars nor more than ten thousand one hundred dollars and mandatory imprisonment for not less than thirty    days nor more than fifteen years when great bodily injury results;

(2) by a mandatory fine of not less than ten thousand one hundred dollars nor more than twenty-five thousand one hundred dollars and mandatory imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than twenty-five years when death results.

A part of the mandatory sentences required to be imposed by this section must not be suspended, and probation must not be granted for any portion.

(B) As used in this section, “great bodily injury” means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

The Department of Motor Vehicles must suspend the driver’s license of a person who is convicted or who receives sentence upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere pursuant to this section for a period to include a period of incarceration plus three years for a conviction of Section 56-5-2945 when “great bodily injury” occurs and five years when a death occurs. This period of incarceration shall not include any portion of a suspended sentence such as probation, parole, supervised furlough, or community supervision. For suspension purposes of this section, convictions arising out of a single incident shall run concurrently.

(C) One hundred dollars of each fine imposed pursuant to this section must be placed by the Comptroller General into a special restricted account to be used by the Department of Public Safety for the Highway Patrol.

If you or someone you know has been charged with any crime, call the South Carolina criminal defense attorneys of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower at 877-374-5999 for a confidential consultation.