Most South Carolina drivers know that they can be arrested for a South Carolina DUI or driving under the influence if they are operating a motorized vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if they have a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.08% or higher.But what if you were not driving at the time of the DUI arrest or if you pulled over to the side of the road because you knew you could not safely operate your vehicle? Can you still be arrested and convicted of drunk driving?
When can I be arrested for DUI in South Carolina?
In the state of South Carolina you can be arrested for DUI if you are driving or if the state can prove you are in “actual physical control” of the vehicle. Physical control has been established by the state in cases where the driver was sitting in the driver’s seat and had possession of the keys or the keys were in the ignition.
Do not assume that the car must be “moving” for you to be charged with DUI. The car does not have to be moving for you to be in control of the car; in fact, the state may prove that possession of the car keys could prove that you are “in control” or have the ability to control the car.
A DUI arrest under the specific conditions listed above should be discussed with a DUI lawyer who can evaluate all the elements of your DUI arrest: was the engine running, where were you located in the car at the time of the DUI arrest, were you awake or asleep, were the keys in the car or in the ignition, were you on the highway or legally parked in a parking lot. Each situation can be evaluated on its own merits on a case by case basis.
What other factors will the South Carolina Courts evaluate for my DUI arrest?
The courts will evaluate a number of factors other than actual physical control. These can include whether or not you were operating a motorized vehicle, whether you were on the road, whether you were actually impaired, whether the office had probable cause to stop your car or to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test, or whether your blood alcohol concentration was above the allowable limit of 0.08% or higher.
DUI lawyers are trained to review all of the factors of the DUI arrest and if they find weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case they may be able to get the charges dismissed or have the DUI charges reduced to reckless driving.
Even if you were not driving this is no guarantee that you will not be charged with a DUI. Keep in mind, if you are convicted you could face a misdemeanor charge which can result in higher insurance rates, high fines and penalties, a mandatory license suspension and a potential jail term. For more information about common mistakes and what to do after a DUI review our blog, Five Mistakes People Make After Their DUI Arrest.
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