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Rise in DUI arrests in South Carolina may be on the way

Arrests for driving under the influence in South Carolina is often categorized in a certain way with the alleged DUI driver negatively perceived as reckless, irresponsible and a danger to others. While this is an easy assumption to make, just because a person is arrested and charged does not automatically imply guilt. For residents of Greenville and the surrounding areas, a DUI conviction can cause myriad problems personally, financially and professionally. With that, it is wise to understand the available strategies to craft an effective defense whether that includes having the charges reduced or getting an outright acquittal.

DUI statistics can provide a window into how law enforcement is pursuing cases

The landscape in Greenville, throughout South Carolina and across the United States has been dramatically changed with the ongoing health challenges. It is wise to have a grasp on the statistics and statements from law enforcement to be prepared if there is a DUI arrest. In 2020, there were 14% fewer DUI arrests in South Carolina. This is believed to have been due to various steps that were taken to avoid a worsening of the pandemic. For example, alcohol sales by bars and restaurants were stopped by 11 p.m. As the situation gradually returns to normal, there may be a spike in DUI arrests.

The numbers showed that in 2020, there were slightly more than 16,600 DUI arrests. In 2019, there were more than 19,350. Greenville County had 345 in 2019 and 315 in 2020. Law enforcement has been reluctant to make any concrete statements as to what it expects, but there is a belief that as restrictions decrease, DUIs might increase. With the limitations on the ability to stay out late and imbibe for an eight-month period, clearly this played a role in there being fewer DUIs. There were fewer accidents and deaths with alcohol a factor in 2020, but this was a trend for the past five years. South Carolina was ranked tenth in DUI deaths, in analysis accrued by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

A DUI conviction can cause myriad challenges

As society prepares to get back to some semblance of normalcy, that will inevitably include people exercising their freedom to enjoy a night out. Law enforcement and state regulators understand this and there might be greater vigilance about DUI with traffic stops, checkpoints and arrests. Simply because a person was accused of DUI does not automatically imply guilt. Depending on the circumstances, there can be harsh penalties for a DUI conviction including jail time, fines, lost driving privileges and more. It can also lead to a negative perception in the community, raised insurance rates, problem getting certain jobs and a black mark on the record.

Whether it is a DUI after an accident, in a school zone, with children in the vehicle, underage DUI or any other issue, there are always available strategies to cobble together a defense. Calling into question the basis of the stop, examining the testing procedures or gauging the possibility that the person was not under the influence are some of the options. Having guidance in crafting a defense is vital from the start.