Interviewer: If someone is arrested for DUI, what happens if they have aggravating or enhancing circumstances, such as a high result from the Breathalyzer, or they had children in the car, or involved in an accident? Will they know they are facing much more severe charges?
Child Endangerment and Drug Possession
Freddy: Yes, if you have a child in the car that can increase what your penalties are. You can also be charged with child endangerment in the state of South Carolina. If you have drugs in your car, you can also be charged with a drug crime as well, which is typically going to be possession with the intent to distribute some kind of controlled substance. That’s going to be another charge, in addition to your DUI charges, which may carry years in jail and will always go to General Sessions Court.
Causing Injury or Death in Addition to a DUI
If you cause an accident and injure someone, that will result in an additional criminal charge. In the most severe cases, and unfortunately I’ve had quite a few of these, you may be charged with reckless homicide in causing a death or several deaths.
The most notable case example I have is where I represented a gentleman last year that had hit and killed two people in a car. He had an alcohol concentration within his body. He was looking at the death penalty because two people were killed. They didn’t want to give him a bond. We were able to get him a bond, get him out so we could be able to defend him and prepare his defense.
We were able to go through that case and figure and determine what had actually had happened, which was much different to what the prosecutor had said. In the end his sentencing was much less than what he could have received.
An Attorney Can Help Mitigate Penalties
In that scenario, you have to be able to use a lawyer. You have to rely on the skill and experience of the lawyer. When it comes to penalties, you could be facing very severe consequences. There is a night and day difference in being charged with DUI versus the person that just gets stopped for a bad taillight.
Interviewer: Are these circumstances called anything? Are they called aggravated DUIs? Do they have a name?
By Freddy Woods