Posts Tagged With: Driving under the influence

Arrested on St. Patrick’s Day?

ImageWMBF as well as other news sources broadcasted information on the Internet, television and radio regarding this past weekend’s festivities. Amongst the weekend’s events, the Grand Strand celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, a car show and a cheerleading competition. Since there was so much to look forward to over the weekend, local law enforcement wanted their presence to be known so that the fun did not get out of control. This WMBF news article issued a statement from local law enforcement that read, “If you are caught drinking and driving, you are going to jail.”

http://www.wmbfnewus.com/story/21660018/myrtle-beach-police-are-cracking-down-this-weekend. Were you arrested for a DUI this weekend? Perhaps you were instead arrested on public intoxication charges? Possibly, you were arrested for possession of marijuana? These are all events that can occur when you are out celebrating holidays like St. Patrick’s Day.

It is almost certain that local law enforcement dealt mostly with DUI related offenses this past weekend. DUI laws make it unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle if the driver’s ability to safely drive has been impaired by the effects of drugs or alcohol or the driver is intoxicated at a level above the established BAC (blood alcohol concentration). In South Carolina, if you have a BAC of .08 or higher, you are legally considered too drunk to drive and can be punished by law. The nature of the DUI charges against you depends on many factors including your prior convictions, the severity of the offense, and the level of intoxication and whether the offense caused injury or death.

Most of us have made the mistake of getting behind the wheel and driving after a few too many cocktails, unfortunately, it’s a common mistake. But, fortunately, the law offers ways to mitigate this mistake. Additionally, the law offers ways to mitigate the mistake of public intoxication and possession of marijuana. For example, in the case of a DUI related offense, your punishment for the crime could be mitigated because the law enforcement officer did not arrest you on probable cause, which is a required element of an arrest. Your punishment for a DUI related offense could also be mitigated because the law enforcement officer improperly conducted field sobriety tests on the scene.

If you have found yourself in a similar situation as one listed above, like being arrested for a DUI, contact your criminal defense attorney Daniel Selwa. If you choose not to contact an attorney, your punishment under the law will likely reach the maximum penalties which could include: imprisonment, excessive fines, suspension of driver’s license and court ordered alcohol/drug treatment or counseling.  Daniel Selwa is an experienced attorney who can help mitigate the punishment for your crime.

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Categories: Attorneys, Criminal Defense, DUI, Open Container | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stricter DUI Laws in SC?

South Carolina ranks among the top of states for DUI related accidents. The number of DUIs in Myrtle Beach is particularly high which can be attributed to the tourist industry locally.

Emma Longstreet was killed last year on New Years Day in a drunk driving accident. Her parents are fighting today to get Emma’s law passed. The law would require a sobriety ignition test, if you blow above a .02, you won’t be able to start your car. The law also would include stricter penalties for repeat offenders. For more information on the tragic death of Emma Longstreet and Emma’s law, check out: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/21290061/emmas-law-would-install-ignition-interlock-device-in-dui-offenders-cars.

Most people I have met admit that they have driven drunk at one point in their lives. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means, you made a bad mistake. Fortunately, the law recognizes this and your punishment for a DUI can be mitigated with counsel. If you go up against the law by yourself, you may face the worst case scenario penalties. However, if you contact Daniel Selwa, the opposite may result. Contact Daniel Selwa today for a free consultation regarding your case.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Legal Process of DUIs

superbowlThis NFL season was full of surprises ranging from the referee lockout to rookie talents like Andrew Luck, and Robert Griffin III, to quarterback changes like Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick. What did you do celebrate the end of this NFL season along with Superbowl XLVII? In the Myrtle Beach Area, a lot of local bars advertised their Superbowl specials like Louie’s at Broadway at the Beach. Did you go out and partake in the Superbowl activities at a hot local spot? Hopefully, if you did, you made to it to the bar and home safely without any negative encounters with law enforcement. But if you didn’t, your local attorney Daniel Selwa is here to help you.

As you may know, a traffic stops begins with law enforcement’s reasonable suspicion that a law has been or is being violated. If the police officer stops based on reasonable suspicion that a person is driving under the influence, he will likely conduct a field sobriety test. For more information about the basics of a DUI, visit my earlier blog entry: https://sclawyersnet.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/arresting-officer-how-much-have-you-had-to-drink-tonight/.

But what happens after you are arrested on DUI charges? After the arrest, you are usually taken to the police station and booked. Booking includes the process where law enforcement takes your personal information, your photograph, your fingerprints, information relating to the arrest and other pertinent information.  After the booking, you will likely be placed in a holding cell or jail. Then, you will be given a pre-arraignment release through a bail proceeding. The bail proceeding allows the DUI suspect to post money in exchange for his release on the condition that you will attend all upcoming court proceedings regarding your case.

After the arrest, the booking, and the bail proceedings, arraignment takes place.  During arraignment (only applicable to 2nd offenses and above), you will be placed in front of a criminal court judge and you will be confronted with the charges against you and advised of your right to an attorney. During this stage, you may choose to plead guilty to the charges and at that point the proceedings will cease. But, you might choose to plead not guilty if the evidence against you is weak and you have a viable defense. It is also possible at this stage that a plea bargain may be available that would be favorable. Attorney Daniel Selwa can help you determine whether it is in your best interests to plead guilty or not guilty at this stage and whether you should pursue defending against the charges further.

As you can see, the legal process can be a lengthy process, but with an attorney, the legal process may end rather quickly with a positive result for you. Imagine only having to serve probation time when you were facing prison time or imagine the DUI charges being dropped against you completely.  You might wonder what if you don’t take advantage of your constitutional right to counsel, don’t wonder what if, and speak to Daniel Selwa today.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI, Traffic Tickets | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

What to do if you are involved in an automobile accident

One week before the South Carolina Bar Exam, my friend was struck by another car driven by a drunk driver. At the time of the accident, the roads were very wet due to the steady flow of rain. She told me how the impact of the hit and the slippery roads caused her car to slide several feet. A sense of panic and fear overwhelmed her as her car slid closer and closer to oncoming traffic. The sense of relief was even greater when finally; her car came to a halt. Soon after, she pulled over and so did the other car that struck her. The woman driving the car that hit my friend stumbled out of her vehicle.  Unsteady and shaky, my friend went on to tell me that she dialed the police immediately. The woman proceeded to plead with her to let her pay and leave. Quickly, my friend became aware that there was a strong possibility the woman might flee the scene of the accident. As she was talking to the police on the phone, she had the forsight to take down her tag number and noted the make and model of her car. So what was the outcome? Long story short, she didn’t flee, the police showed up, wrote a police report, searched her vehicle and arrested her.

Based on my experience and the law, I want to give you some advice regarding what you should do if you are involved in a car accident. First and foremost, don’t leave the scene of the accident. You can face criminal punishment for leaving the scene of an accident, particularly where injury is involved. Note, however, if you are involved in a car accident and you are in a remote area, proceed cautiously. It may be best to drive to the closest police station or public area to call the police.

Next, make sure to check on all the drivers and passengers. If someone is injured or trapped in a vehicle, you want to call for medical attention immediately. If everyone is okay, call the police.  It is important to obtain a police report of the accident so that if you have to be appear in Court, you have proofof the accident. It would also be wise to exchange information from the other driver and passengers involved in the accident. But, when conversing with the driver and passengers, be sure not to say too much. You don’t want to apologize for anything, if you do, that information could be used against in a Court of law.

Pictures, pictures, pictures! If you are able, take pictures of the damage at the scene of the accident. These pictures can serve as significant proof of who was at fault in the accident and how the injured party should be compensated.

When a police report is filed, insurance companies are usually contacted immediately. If you are the at fault driver, consult an attorney before you contact your insurance company or provide statements to any other insurance company.  Likewise, if you are not the at-fault driver, it would be advisable to contact an attorney to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of.  Remember one thing, whether your interest in this information is for criminal defense purposes or for personal injury purposes: Insurance companies are in business to make money, not help people.  Money is priority number one.

If you are injured in the automobile accident, it is extremely important to keep track of your medical treatment. You should keep a diary containing notes of all your doctors’ visits and referrals. You should also keep an itemized list of all the medical expenses you have incurred.

Lastly, don’t give up. Law enforcement and insurance companies alike may give you a hard time in pursuing your case. But, remember, you do have a case, if your property or person was injured at the hands of another or if you are being charged with a criminal driving offense, Daniel Selwa will work hard to help you.

Categories: Criminal Defense, Insurance Companies, Personal Injury | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intoxication Manslaughter: Dallas Cowboys

There are almost 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving every day.  Every day in ImageAmerica, another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. Interestingly enough, in those fatal drunk-driving accidents, the driver often survives while accompanying passengers do not. But still, there are circumstances in which people do survive these horrific accidents but they survive with life altering injuries sustained from the accident. If the driver survives, he has to live with the guilt and pain caused by his actions of getting behind the wheel after drinking. In addition, the driver has to face the criminal law system for his actions, his actions could lead to suspension of his driver’s license, probation, community service, and worst of all, significant jail time.  The drunk driver who causes death to another will most likely face involuntary manslaughter charges and all of the above criminal law penalties could result if he is convicted

The most common charge for death resulting from a drunk driving accident is felony DUI, however sometimes jurisdictions at the behest of that jurisdiction’s prosecutor can charge involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of another without malice aforethought. Malice aforethought means the actor did not intentionally cause harm to another but the harm resulted from his recklessness or negligence. The state of South Carolina may charge you with the equivalent of involuntary manslaughter and that is reckless homicide.  The elements of the crime are basically the same; it is defined as the driving of a vehicle in reckless disregard of the safety of others that results in the death of the victim. This is a felony and penalties could reach up to 10 years of jail time, fines of up to $5,000 as well as a revocation of one’s driver’s license for 5 years.

You might remember the Nick Hogan case; Nick Hogan was 20 years old when he was involved in a drunk driving accident that nearly killed his best friend John Graziano. He was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and his best friend was riding without his seatbelt as a passenger in Nick’s car. Subsequently, Nick was charged with reckless driving involving serious bodily injury amongst other charges. After serving just under six months in jail for his crime, Nick was released early for good behavior. But, Nick must still serve out his 5 years of probation and 500 community service hours. The accident left John Graziano, a war veteran, in a semi conscious state. John Graziano will require around the clock care for the rest of his life. Perhaps equally as sad, Nick Hogan must live with the pain and guilt for the rest of his life. In an interview, following his release from prison, Nick tells Good Morning America that “some mornings it is hard for him to wake up” and “it’s hard to be positive every day when there’s something so horribly devastating.”

Today, America mourns the loss of Jerry Brown, a Dallas Cowboys practice squad linebacker. He was tragically killed on Saturday morning around 2:00am when the vehicle he was riding in hit a curb and flipped at least once. Teammate Josh Brent was driving the vehicle when the accident occurred.  Josh Brent was intoxicated at the time of the accident and this wasn’t his first run in with the law involving drunk driving. Josh Brent is being charged with intoxication manslaughter. Josh Brent recently released a statement saying, “I am devastated and filled with grief.” He further commented by saying, “I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life.”

It seems apparent that both Nick Hogan and Josh Brent did not mean to cause any harm to their friends that were injured or killed in these accidents. Both of these drivers undoubtedly could have afforded a cab ride or even a limo ride. But, both of these drivers made the unfortunate and heartbreaking mistake to get behind the wheel and drive while intoxicated. Sadly, it happens all too often, and plenty of Americans are guilty of making this mistake at one point in their lives. It’s not to say it makes you a bad person, but that decision to drive while intoxicated could change your life. If you have made the same mistake, as did Nick Hogan and Josh Brent, you need a compassionate lawyer who will understand the unfortunate result of the accident. Daniel Selwa is an experienced criminal law attorney who is not only compassionate but also well equipped to handle your DUI case involving serious bodily injury to another. Contact Daniel Selwa today for your free consultation.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI, Wrongful Death | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is today and for many of us, Halloween is a holiday filled with candy, haunted houses, and scary movies. While some choose to stay home and give out candy to trick or treaters or snuggle with their loved ones while watching a scary movie, many people venture out on Halloween in their costumes to trick or treat and/or attend Halloween parties. You can bet your bottom dollar that many of those attending the Halloween parties will be consuming alcohol. So, what does this mean for you, the responsible Halloween partygoer?  This means that you need to be aware of all your surroundings and particularly careful when driving to and from the Halloween party.

Every 30 minutes, someone is killed in a drunk driving accident. Last year alone, over one million people were injured in alcohol related traffic accidents. Halloween is a particularly dangerous day because of the number of drunk drivers on the road. As reported by MADD, who cited the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 41% of all highway fatalities throughout the nation during the Halloween period in 2010 involved a driver with a BAC of .08% or higher.

Here are some particular tips from MADD about how to keep safe this Halloween: http://www.madd.org/blog/2012/october/Halloween.html

If you suffer personal injury this Halloween, contact Daniel Selwa immediately.  You may have a claim for negligence against the driver who injured you. Automobile drivers are under a duty to use reasonable care under the circumstances and a failure to use reasonable care results in negligence. If the driver who injured you was over the legal limit of alcohol at the time of the accident, the judge will take this fact into consideration. It is likely that the judge will infer negligence if the plaintiff can prove the defendant was inebriated at the time of the accident. Liability may also extend to the establishment that served the driver alcohol. Contact Daniel Selwa immediately so that he can ensure all of the liable parties are held responsible for their wrongful actions.

Eat, drink, be scary, but most of all be safe this Halloween! Happy Halloween!

Categories: DUI, Personal Injury | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Arresting Officer: How much have you had to drink tonight?

Have you been arrested on suspicion of a DUI? You are not alone, reports show that in 2010, over 1.41 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Due to the growing trend of DUI arrests, law enforcement and Courts alike are cracking down on drunk driving. Unfortunately, the pressure to make DUI arrests has resulted in some innocent people facing DUI charges. Even if you were drinking and driving, there are mitigating factors, which could result in the DUI charges against you being lessened or dropped altogether.

DUI laws make it unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle if the driver’s ability to safely drive has been impaired by the effects of drugs or alcohol or the driver is intoxicated at a level above the established BAC (blood alcohol concentration). In South Carolina, if you are 21 or older, it is against the law to drive with a BAC above .08%. Simply being in an accident can give law enforcement reasonable suspicion to investigate the accident further. The investigation may take form in temporarily detaining the motorists involved in the accident. At that time, law enforcement officers may question the drivers and passengers about whether any drinking has been involved. If the investigating officer then believes the driver has been drinking, the officer has probable cause to arrest the driver. The following link gives an example of two drunk driving cases: http://dui.findlaw.com/dui-charges/the-tale-of-two-drunk-driving-cases.html.

A DUI conviction may carry criminal penalties including fines, jail time, probation, and community service. In addition to the listed criminal penalties, your license could be immediately suspended. A person convicted of a DUI or a DUAC will be required to get SR-22 insurance (which can be expensive) and be required to complete ADSAP (Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program) before a license will be reissued.  The nature of the DUI charges against you depends on many factors including your prior convictions, the severity of the offense, and the level of intoxication and whether the offense caused injury or death. A felony DUI is typically imposed when there has been great bodily injury or death to another. A felony DUI can result in extensive jail time and hefty fines as well as license suspension or revocation.

Give yourself the best chance at fighting your DUI by contacting attorney Daniel Selwa today. Daniel Selwa has the skills and experience that will allow him to thoroughly defend your case.

Categories: DUI | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Deputy arrested for DUI while driving golf cart – WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Deputy arrested for DUI while driving golf cart – WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather.

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