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What To Do Now To Challenge A DUI Charge

People wonder about the first thing they should do if they have been charged with DUI. The simple answer is find an attorney. There are several things you can do, however, even before you retain counsel.

Request An Administrative Hearing

If you refused the Breathalyzer or registered over a .15, you should immediately request an administrative hearing. Requesting this hearing is the first step toward getting driving privileges back. You are likely eligible for a temporary alcohol license which will allow you to drive 24 hours a day, seven days a week in South Carolina. The form to do so should have been provided to you by the officer who charged you. On the back of the form there are instructions on how much to send to the South Carolina Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings along with the address to which that form and a money order must be sent. You only have 30 days to request the administrative hearing so you should do so as quickly as possible as that will help you get driving privileges back as quickly as possible.

The form asks for your name, address and phone number and for your attorney's information. This form, however, can be submitted without any attorney's information as you never have to hire counsel. When you do hire a lawyer, the lawyer can contact the South Carolina Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings and let it know he/she was hired and should be notified of the hearing.

While you have the right to hold the hearing by yourself, it is not usually the best choice since you won't know the rules involved in the hearing. You should request this immediately, then hire an attorney.

Gather Witnesses And Evidence

The second item that needs to be addressed immediately is the gathering of witnesses and evidence. Anyone you saw prior to your arrest potentially could be a witness to your condition and whether you appeared to be a threat to yourself or anyone else. It is likely that those people are going to be family, friends or co-workers. If they are aware that you have been arrested or you are comfortable telling them that has occurred, contact them as quickly as possible as you want their memory of the day or night you were arrested as fresh as possible. Perhaps you didn't see any of these people, but you spoke to them by cellphone and they could describe your voice, whether your conversation made sense and whether they could in any way tell you had too much to drink.

Receipts may be available. If you paid by credit card, we can get the information from your credit card company, but if you paid by cash or if another person paid and your drinks and food were on their tab, you want to get the receipts if at all possible so your attorney can later determine whether they would be beneficial to you.

Since hiring an attorney sometimes takes several days, beginning to gather that information and identifying and contacting witnesses should be done immediately.

Get Legal Counsel

The third thing you should immediately do is hire counsel.

One final note …

If your license was taken by the officer, then please remember you are under suspension and you should not be driving. You are likely eligible for a temporary alcohol license, but if you are charged with driving under suspension before you get that in place, you will not be eligible for any temporary driving privilege.