No matter how safely you drive, you could still fall victim to an accident caused by a drunk driver. Even though driving under the influence is illegal, some reckless drivers still choose to get behind the wheel after drinking. When they do this, they are putting their own lives, and the lives of everyone else on the road, in danger. When they cause a collision with you, you could use the help of a Columbia drunk driving accident lawyer.
At The Solomon Law Group, we’re dedicated to getting you justice when you’ve been in a crash with a drunk driver. They need to be held accountable for their negligent decisions that caused you injuries and other damages. Our experienced attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on healing.
Let’s take a look at the laws in our state so that we can fully understand the gravity of the situation when someone chooses to drive drunk.
South Carolina Drunk Driving Laws and Fines
Even though the dangers of drinking and driving should be enough to prevent a driver from making that decision, our state’s laws offer a reinforced reason as to why a driver shouldn’t drive drunk. According to South Carolina legislature, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. If your BAC is less than .08 percent but higher than .05 percent, then it could be inferred that you are under the influence, meaning you could also be charged with a DUI based on that evidence.
There are different fines and sentences assigned to each offense that you may have. Here are the different fines based on the number of DUI offenses you commit:
- First Offense. After your first DUI offense, you could get a fine of up to $400, as well as imprisonment from 48 hours to 30 days. Your driver’s license can also be suspended for six months.
- Second Offense. Your second DUI offense will cause you to face a fine from $2,100 to $5,100. You could face a prison sentence from five days to one year, and you could lose your license for one year.
- Third Offense. After the third offense, you could face a fine between $3,800 and $6,300 as well as prison time from 60 days to three years. Your license will also be suspended for two years. If the third offense happens within five years of your first offense, you lose your license for four years. If the third offense happens within ten years of your first offense, then the vehicle can be confiscated.
- Fourth Offense. A fourth DUI offense will result in you going to prison from one to five years and a permanent suspension of your driver’s license.
- Felony Offense. On top of all of these offenses, you can also get a felony offense for DUI. This is when you drive under the influence of alcohol to the point where your physical and mental faculties are strongly impaired. When bodily injury occurs, you will be fined between $5,100 and $10,100 and face prison time from 30 days to 15 years. When a death occurs, you will be fined between $10,100 and $25,100 and face prison time from one to 25 years.
Any fine that you face for your DUI will also come with assessments and surcharges, so you will actually have to pay much more than the fine you’re assigned with. With these charges, the amount you’ll pay is usually about double the price of your fines.
If you’ve been struck by a drunk driver and been injured, you could use the help of a Columbia drunk driving accident attorney from our firm. We’ll ensure that your rights are protected and the drunk driver is properly charged for their actions.
Drunk Driving Facts and Statistics
Unfortunately, many drivers still make the decision to drive under the influence even though it’s well-known that it can be deadly. In fact, there were over 10,500 deaths in America caused by drunk driving accidents in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They also reported that 29 percent of traffic fatalities in that same year were caused by drunk drivers.
South Carolina specifically ranks as the third highest state for drunk driving deaths in 2019. According to a study from SafeWise, our state averages 5.72 deaths from drunk drivers per 100,000 people, which is what makes it rank so high. In order to bring awareness and reduce drunk driving deaths, it’s important to look at how alcohol levels affect a person and their driving abilities.
In accordance with our state’s laws, a driver can’t get behind the wheel if their BAC is over .08 percent. According to the NHTSA, these are the effects of alcohol on your system and the corresponding BAC:
- .02 Percent. With this level of intoxication, the body relaxes slightly, you get some loss of judgement, and your mood is altered. When it comes to driving, your visual functions decrease, and you have trouble focusing on tasks.
- .05 Percent. This BAC can be convicted for a DUI offense in our state, which makes sense because there are more negative effects on your body that harm your driving abilities. You start to lose muscle control, have impaired judgement, and less alertness. Your driving abilities are decreased because your coordination, object-tracking, steering, and response time are all impaired.
- .08 Percent. This is the strict legal limit because the effects are even worse. You lose muscle control and coordination, inability to detect danger, and impaired judgement. The effect this BAC has on your driving abilities is severe—you have trouble perceiving and processing signals, other vehicles, and your own speed.
- .10 Percent. This BAC is over the legal limit, and results in a serious decline in driving abilities. On top of all the other effects previously mentioned, you also start getting slurred speech and slowed thinking at this level of intoxication. Your driving becomes even worse, and you have trouble staying in your line and braking correctly.
As you get more and more intoxicated, your coordination and thought processing get even worse. On top of the effects on you, your driving becomes more and more dangerous because you can’t interpret the lanes, signals, and other drivers as a sober person would. This leads to serious and deadly car wrecks because you can’t slow down or stop before colliding with another vehicle.
When a drunk driver causes a wreck with you in Columbia, a drunk driving accident lawyer from The Solomon Law Group can help you. We’ll look into what happened, prove who was at fault, and get you compensation for your injuries.
Our Columbia Drunk Driving Lawyer Will Represent You
After you’ve suffered injuries from a drunk driving accident, you likely have medical bills, lost wages, and other costs that you’ve incurred from your damages. Since these costs were the fault of someone else, you shouldn’t have to deal with them on your own. That’s where we come in.
A Columbia drunk driving attorney from The Solomon Law Group is prepared to represent you in your claim so you can recover the full and fair compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. While we handle the legal side of things for you, you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. Reach out to our office today so we can get started on your claim.