Should I pay the fine if I am charged with a DUI first offense?
Each DUI Case, as every criminal case, is unique and individual to its own facts and cirumstances. It is almost universally the case that attorneys’ fees for representation for DUI, first offense are more than the maximum fine amount. However, the money saved in paying the fine instead of paying for legal representation is often a false savings when all of the consequences of a DUI conviction, even for a first offense, are considered.
For example, under current South Carolina Law, a DUI first conviction is considered a criminal misdeameanor offense that remains on an individual’s permanent criminal record forever and could be used against that person for purposes of enhanced punishment in subsequent offenses for a period of ten years.
A DUI conviction will result in loss of driving privileges or driver’s license suspension in South Carolina and in order to get back any privilege to drive, the convicted person must enroll in a special alcohol counseling program at a fee and maintain what is known as SR-22 insurance. This insurance is usually extremely expensive and must be maintained for a period of thirty-six months.
The bottom line is that a DUI offense, even a first offense, is a serious matter in South Carolina. The Harris Law Firm would encourage all individuals charged with the offense of DUI to seek the advice of a qualified attorney before making a decision on how to handle his or her DUI first arrest. The Harris Law Firm offers free initial consultations for DUI first offense cases.