Awareness efforts for drunk driving are so ubiquitous that you probably can’t find a single child in South Carolina who doesn’t already know that it is illegal to drink and drive. Unfortunately, it isn’t lack of knowledge that leads to drunk driving charges but someone underestimating their own impairment.
Many people think that they are okay to drive and only realize after police officers pull them over that they are, in fact, over the legal limit. Even if you feel very strongly that you did not have too much to drink, you may worry that everyone will assume you are guilty.
The idea of going to court and needing to take time off of work to fight back against driving under the influence (DUI) charges may seem like the worst idea possible. However, pleading guilty to those charges might be a far worse decision.
A guilty plea does not ensure a lenient sentence
The first thing you need to understand is that pleading guilty to a DUI charge does not necessarily prevent the judge presiding over your case from imposing the harshest penalties possible. You can still face jail time or have to pay the maximum possible fine even though you plead guilty.
You will have a criminal record
Compared with assault or property crimes, a drunk driving charge on your record may not seem like that big of an issue. However, it can be the deciding factor in whether or not you get that promotion you wanted. Your drunk driving charge could affect your eligibility for enrollment at certain colleges and your ability to rent the most desirable properties, as criminal background checks have become ubiquitous.
There will be licensing and insurance consequences
The number of other infractions on your driving record and any prior DUIs will determine exactly how long you lose your license for after a DUI offense. Even when you get your license back, this charge will continue to haunt you in the form of higher insurance costs. You will pay hundreds of dollars more for the exact same coverage that you already have.
Those who fight back against DUI charges can avoid jail time and fines, protect their driver’s licenses and maintain a perfectly clean criminal record. Deciding when it is appropriate to fight back against pending criminal charges can help those accused of DUI charges in South Carolina.