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What is the DUI Court Process Like in South Carolina?

If you are facing a DUI charge in South Carolina, you may be tempted to accept whatever the court throws your way and simply move on with your life, but doing so is shortsighted. A DUI conviction is not only costly but can also lead to jail time and hefty social consequences that you may not have even considered. You have legal rights and are not guilty of DUI unless the state can prove your guilt. A much better plan is consulting with an experienced DUI defense attorney in Greenville, South Carolina.

There are two basic components to the DUI court process in South Carolina, and the first is the implied consent hearing – or the Department of Motor Vehicles Hearing. You must request an implied consent hearing if you want one, and you must do so within 30 days of your license being suspended. Failure to do so means you’ll lose the right to fight the suspension of your driver’s license.

This hearing is separate from the criminal DUI hearing – if your case proceeds to trial – and will be presided over by an administrative hearing officer rather than a judge. At your implied consent hearing, the officer who pulled you over in the first place is tasked with demonstrating that your arrest was lawful to begin with, which includes both the following:

Any failure to follow the rules on the part of the police could support your license being reinstated. 

The Bench Trial

If your case proceeds to trial, which means you don’t get the charge dropped or don’t make an advantageous plea deal prior, you’ll have a bench trial that will be scheduled at the time you’re charged. A bench trial means that the judge alone will hear your case and will decide the outcome based on the evidence presented.

To have a jury trial, which is often preferred, you’ll need to submit the appropriate filing prior to your original court date. It’s important to note, however, that if you don’t hear back regarding your request for a jury trial prior to that original court date, you’ll need to go before the judge as previously scheduled.

Look to an Experienced Greenville Criminal Defense Attorney for the Help You Need

If you’ve been charged with DUI, you have a lot to lose and shouldn’t proceed without skilled legal counsel on your side. The focused DUI defense attorneys at Ryan Beasley Law, proudly serving Greenville, South Carolina, have the experience, legal insight, and drive to help you resolve your case advantageously – in support of your best future. If this is the difficult situation you find yourself in, it’s time to reach out and contact us online or call 864-679-7777 for more information about what we can do to help you today.