DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE – DUI:
If you have been arrested for DUI, there are steps you can take to protect your rights. If your driver’s license has been suspended for refusing to take a breath test or for taking a breath test and registering an alcohol reading higher than .15, there are steps my office can take to get your license back. In most cases, depending upon whether you have had a prior license suspension, we can usually help you get your license back in about a week. Not all DUI arrests in South Carolina trigger an immediate license suspension. An Individual’s privilege to drive is suspended for a refusal to take the breath test or for taking the breath test and registering a blood alcohol reading of .15 or higher. If you take the breath test and the result is under .15 your license is not immediately suspended even though you are charged with DUI.
It is important to know that a DUI arrest is different from a DUI conviction. Once you have been arrested, usually by a blue uniform traffic ticket, your court date is set and written on the ticket. The date and location of the court is also written on your traffic ticket. All DUI convictions lead to a driver’s license suspension.
The original trial date scheduled is a bench trial, which is a trial by judge. You have the right to a jury trial in South Carolina and the right to a discovery motion, to see what evidence exists. You have other rights including the presumption of innocence and the right to confront witnesses.
The burden of proving guilt is upon the state or city which made the arrest. The prosecution must prove that your ability to drive was both materially and appreciably impaired beyond a reasonable doubt in front of a jury.
Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can be a humiliating experience. If you have been arrested and charged with DUI you have most likely been placed in handcuffs, read your rights and placed in the back of a police car. You have been seen transported and locked up in an unknown jail. You have spent the night in jail and your car has been towed. Than you must appear before a judge, many times in handcuffs and leg shackles, to have bond set. Once the bond is set you must make arrangements for someone to post the bond to secure your release. In addition you must locate your car, retrieve your car and pay for the towing. Your license may be suspended and you have a short amount of time to request an administrative hearing and jury trial. All of this is often stressful and confusing.
At the Law Office of M. Gregory McCollum we can take every necessary step to protect your rights. The first is protecting your right to a jury trial. The second is requesting all the evidence the police have collected against you. Other rights include, your right to be presumed innocent and the right to confront witnesses at trial.
Practicing criminal law since 1988 has taught me many things about the legal process and about the people accused of DUI. What I have learned is that many good, hardworking, and responsible people get arrested for DUI. Many times people are arrested for driving after having consumed alcohol. This is often referred to as drinking and driving. It is not against the law in South Carolina to drive if you have had something to drink unless your ability to operate the motor vehicle is both materially and appreciably impaired.
If you have been charged with DUI, contact my office and ask for an appointment; you have the right to consult with an attorney, so that you can proceed with an understanding of how you will be affected. You should always consult an attorney before making assumptions about how the law will be applied to your situation.
While it is not practical to go back and summarize all of the cases Attorney Greg McCollum has defended since 1994, select cases and more recent case summaries are provided as representative cases. Keep in mind that no attorney, however successful, wins every case. Effective, quality representation, however, will almost always make a significant difference in the end result. Some cases are dismissed outright. Some cases go to trial. In some cases, the charges are reduced and a plea deal is reached. What will happen to each case is determined by a variety of factors. Some of those factors include the strength of the state’s evidence, the availability and reliability of witnesses and whether the police followed proper procedures. Those factors are unique to each case, and there are many different factors which will determine the outcome of a case.
Most people do not want to go to court and many people do not want to go to trial, however, unless your lawyer is prepared to try your case, and has a reputation that he is willing and able to go to trial, and that he is capable of effectively challenging the state’s evidence, then the prosecution is less likely to negotiate.
In reality, most cases do not go to trial, but the ability of your lawyer to go to trial and effectively defend you will determine what type of outcome or disposition you will be offered by the prosecution.
Following are some examples of representative cases which are produced for information purposes. Not all cases are listed. Additionally, the facts and circumstances of each case is unique. The result reached in your case may be different because of different circumstances. This information is provided to give to you some information regarding what has happened on past cases.
What will happen on your case, depends upon many factors. Having an experienced and qualified criminal defense lawyer is one of those factors. Every case is unique and different defenses are available on different cases. If you are interested in a consultation, please contact the Law Office of Greg McCollum for an appointment.
Following are some examples of cases that Attorney Greg McCollum has handled. These are provided to give you information which may be helpful. Often, people think that because they were arrested and charged with a criminal offense that there is nothing they can do about it, and that the situation is hopeless or futile. It is important to know that an arrest and charge is only an accusation, and that a person is not automatically deemed to be guilty. In some cases the person is innocent, in other cases the state lacks sufficient evidence to convict, and sometimes the person has been charged with a greater offense than the state can prove, which can result in charges being reduced or dismissed completely. What can or will occur on your case can not be predicted with absolute certainty. The practice of law is not a science dependent on absolute rules. Law must be interpreted and applied to a particular set of facts, which may or not be proven. What will happen to your case depends upon several factors and each case is unique.
When reading results from past cases it is important to know that any result Attorney Greg McCollum may achieve on behalf of one client does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
Sample Cases Handled by Attorney Greg McCollum
State vs John Doe (2010)
Driving Under the Influence (.18)
The client was arrested in 2010 by the South Carolina Highway Patrol and charged with driving under the influence with a BA (blood alcohol) level of .18 as a result of submitting to the data master test pursuant to his arrest. His license or privilege to drive in South Carolina was suspended because he “blew over a .15” After retaining our office, an administrative hearing was requested and he received a temporary alcohol license permitting him to drive while waiting for the administrative hearing. At the administrative hearing the state failed to prove that the test was properly administered and his privilege to drive was reinstated allowing him to get his regular drivers license back.
The DUI case was placed on the Horry County Central Jury Court Docket and Scheduled for trial for the Term of Court beginning February 28, 2011. Prior to trial the client accepted a plea to reckless driving, which is a six (6) point moving violation with the DUI charge dismissed. The client was able to enter the reckless driving plea by affidavit, pay a fine of four hundred forty four ($444) dollars without being required to appear in court.
State vs John Doe (2010)
Driving Under the Influence
This client was arrested on May 3, 2010 by the South Carolina Highway Patrol and charged with Driving Under the Influence. Because he refused to take the Data Master and give a breath sample his Driver’s License was suspended the night of his arrest. He retained the Law Office of M. Gregory McCollum, shortly after his arrest. We requested an administrative hearing to contest his refusal to give a breath sample, which allowed him to get a temporary alcohol restricted driver’s license until the hearing.
On August 12, 2010, the Administrative Hearing Judge granted the client’s request to dismiss or rescind the driver’s license suspension allowing the client to reinstate his regular driver’s license.
The case was set for trial for the March term of Jury Trials in the Myrtle Beach Magistrate Court. The Defendant was allowed to enter a Guilty Plea to Reckless Driving. The Driving Under the Influence was dismissed.
State vs. Jane Doe (2009)
Driving Under the Influence
Failure to stop for a Blue Light or Siren (Running from the Police)
Possession of Cocaine 1st Offense
The client was accused of Driving Under the Influence and accused of refusing to stop her vehicle as the police pursued her in a police car with the blue lights flashing. She was accused of driving over a bridge where police cars and Emergency Medical Technicians were at an accident scene of an unrelated automobile accident. The police alleged that the client wrecked her car on the bridge while attempting to driver between an ambulance and the guardrail. The ambulance was stopped on the bridge with its emergency lights flashing. The case was resolved without a jury trial. Because of charges, the case was split between two Courts. The trafficoffenses were set in the Central Traffic Court, while the Failure to Stop for Blue Lights or Siren and the Drug charge were set in the Circuit Court of General Sessions. The client pleaded guilty toReckless Driving and paid a fine of Four Hundred Forty Four ($444.00) Dollars. The charges of Failure to Stop for a Blue Light or Siren, and the drug charge were referred to Pre-Trial Intervention without an admission of guilt to be dismissed once the requirements of PTI are completed.
State vs. John Doe (2008)
Driving with Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC)
This client was arrested on August 9, 2008 in Myrtle Beach after a State Trooper located a car that had been wrecked against a guardrail on Grissom Parkway. When the State Trooper stopped to investigate, the vehicle was empty and appeared abandoned. According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the client emerged from a wooded areanearby and allegedly admitted to being the driver. The police alleged that the client failed field sobriety tests and he was arrested for Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration after blowing a .19 on the data master.
The case was set for jury trial to begin on March 2, 2011. Prior to jury selection, the morning of the trial, the client was allowed to enter a guilty plea to Reckless Driving and pay a fine of Four Hundred Forty Five ($445.00) Dollars. The DUAC charge was dismissed.
Prior to opening my criminal defense DUI defense practice, I worked as a an assistant solicitor in the fifteenth judicial circuit or worked at what is generally known as the district attorneys office. I had the good fortune of working for Solicitor Jim Dunn and then Solicitor Ralph Wilson. Both Jim Dunn and Ralph Wilson taught me valuable lessons in how to try a case before a jury in Horry and Georgetown County. I also had the occasion to prosecute criminal cases and DUI cases against some extraordinary trial lawyers, who were some of the best defense attorneys in the state of South Carolina. There were many times when I tried DUI cases against noted defense attorneys: Larry Hyman, who is now a circuit judge, Bob McInnis, who is now deceased, Paul Joseph, who is a great DUI defense attorney and someone whom I learned a lot from. I also tried cases against John Sweeney, who is now deceased.
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